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Veduchi Journal: It’s All Downhill in Chechnya, This Time on Skis

“How is a ski resort going to solve all that?” Tanya Lokshina, the Russia director of Human Rights Watch, said in a telephone interview. “How is it going to solve the problem of a state within a state, where lawlessness and abuses are the norm?”

More recently, rights groups have expressed alarm at what they see as a cruel and capricious response from Mr. Kadyrov to the cancellation last month of his Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Facebook, which also owns Instagram, said it had deactivated the accounts after Mr. Kadyrov was added to a United States sanctions list over rights abuses.

The block came as a blow to Mr. Kadyrov, who had amassed millions of followers by posting pictures of himself cuddling a cat and lifting weights, along with the dead bodies of his enemies. “He rejoiced in it, really, and he was clearly livid about losing it,” Ms. Lokshina said.

On Jan. 10, Oyub Titiev, the Chechnya director of the rights group Memorial, was arrested, ostensibly over possessing marijuana. But Mr. Kadyrov went on television a few days later to criticize rights activists as “enemies of the people,” adding that he would “break the spines of our enemies.”

While talk like that might scare foreign tour operators and other visitors from traveling to Veduchi, it seems to have had little effect on the main market: Russians.

While conceding that many impressions of Chechnya start with a “negative background,” Khasan Timizhev, the director of North Caucasus Resorts, said market research had shown that Russian skiers were more concerned about the condition and safety of the slopes rather than lawlessness or terrorist attacks.

Source: NYT > World

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