A warlord whose troops are helping Vladimir Putin invade Ukraine was allowed to enter his horse in the Melbourne Cup and walk away with $450,000 in prizemoney.
Ramzan Kadyrov, the 45-year-old Kremlin-backed leader of Russia’s Chechen Republic, has been unfavourably compared to Saddam Hussein over his treatment of anyone who opposes him.
The father-of-twelve has reportedly treated Chechnya as his own private fiefdom since inheriting power from his late father in 2005, and is regularly accused of heavy handed tactics and mistreatment of the LGBT community.
In late-February, he urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to surrender and apologise to Putin for resisting the full-scale invasion of the eastern European nation while sporting a pair of $2,280 Prada Monolith boots.
With an estimated net worth of about $200million, Kadyrov carries a gold-plated gun, flaunts his $1million watch collection, and owns a stable of horses in Dubai and several others around the world.
It was his affinity for racing that earned him a place in Australian headlines in 2009 when he won $AUD450,000 – more than 600 times the annual Chechen median wage – after his horse Mourilyan placed third in the Spring Racing Carnival event.
Ramzan Kadyrov (pictured right) is a staunch ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin (pictured left) and is regarded as the ‘son he never had’
Khorezm fronted military forces wearing $2,280 Prada Monolith boots (pictured centre, in Prada boots, a baseball-style cap and brown belt)
The prospect of Kadyrov – described as the son Putin never had – visiting Australia to watch his horse compete in the Cup sparked outrage at the time.
Kadyrov had been at the helm of the former Soviet state for four years, had pledged his allegiance to Putin and had been accused of widespread oppression.
Many called on the Federal government to cancel Kadyrov’s visa application, with former Greens leader Bob Brown calling on then-prime minister Kevin Rudd to ban the dictator and Mourilyan from the race.
Senator Brown told the ABC it would be ‘the lowest point in Australia’s sporting history’ if Kadyrov won the Cup.
‘Can you imagine the appalling prospect of Governor-General Quentin Bryce being asked to hand a Melbourne Cup to the blood-soaked hands of Mr Kadyrov?’ he asked.
‘The very thought of him coming runs a shiver up my spine.’
Prada Monolith boots (pictured) have been worn by celebrities such as Selena Gomez and Gigi Hadid
Ramzan Kadyrov is also enthusiastic about racing and owns horses in stables around the world (pictured with his horse horse Khorezm in Russia)
Kadyrov didn’t end up applying for a visa – even if he did, a spokeswoman for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship said at the time that he probably would have failed the character test.
But Racing Victoria does not follow the same rules, opting to focus on criminal convictions rather than suspicions.
Despite the countless allegations against him, Kadyrov incessantly denies any wrongdoing and has no criminal convictions against his name.
Racing Victoria chief steward Terry Bailey said at the time: ‘When owners run in Victoria they have to declare any criminal convictions.’
‘As I understand it, Kadyrov doesn’t have any convictions and, given the horses have raced in other jurisdictions around the world, we wouldn’t have any reason to stop them coming.
‘He would be welcome at the course.’
Human Rights Watch launched a campaign to highlight his ‘unacceptable’ record, and sent a letter to the federal government demanding his horse be axed from the race – but it was unsuccessful.
Kadyrov is the richest man in Chechnya and has a gold-plated gun and a luxury watch collection. In the background – a framed picture of Putin
Kadyrov has 12 children, comprising six sons – two of whom are adopted – and six daughters (pictured with his family)
Kadyrov was did not end up to popping champagne alongside his fellow winners and big spenders on the big day, but he watched jockey Glyn Schofield take Mourilyan to third place – behind Shocking and Crime Scene – from the Chechen capital of Grozny.
The Australian Government then had one week to decide whether to freeze the prizemoney or send it to the alleged tyrant, but it couldn’t find a legal reason to stop the prizemoney transfer – which equates to about 36 million Russian Roubles.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Victoria Racing Club for comment.
Since 2009, the alleged tyrant has been accused of multiple crimes by people who have fled his regime.
Ramzan Kadyrov (pictured on February 25) joined Russian forces in the invasion of Ukraine on February 24
Kadyrov used Instagram to post bizarre photos of him wrestling crocodiles (pictured). The account was blocked in 2017
He was accused in 2017 of rounding up men who were believed to be gay or bisexual – which Kadyrov denies.
When asked about it, he said there are no gay people in the Islam-majority state.
Later that year, the US imposed travel and financial sanctions against Chechnya over allegations of human rights abuses.
A week later, his Instagram account with three-million followers was blocked.
Kadyrov used the platform to issue government statements, threaten Kremlin critics, and to post bizarre photos of himself wrestling crocodiles and cuddling tigers.
In March 2020, at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Kadyrov said anyone with the virus who does not isolate ‘should be killed’.
Two days after Russia launched an invasion against Ukraine on February 24, Kadyrov, said 70,000 Chechen fighters had been deployed to help Putin, and urged Ukrainians – who he described as ‘neo-Nazi’s’ – to overthrow their government.
Ukrainian officials say the anti-Semitic description of them is absurd.
Pictured: Russia’s Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin (left) and Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the Chechen Republic, during a meeting
On February 25, he boasted that Chechen units had so far suffered no losses and said Russian forces could easily take large Ukrainian cities including the capital Kyiv.
The following day, he called on Ukrainian president Zelensky to ‘apologize to Russian President Vladimir Putin, to save Kyiv’ while wearing a pair of black Prada Monolith boots – as worn by Bella Hadid and Selena Gomez.
A specialist Chechen unit was allegedly sent to assinated Ukrainian president Zelensky, but Ukraine’s Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council Oleksiy Danilov said the unit ‘was eliminated’ on March 2.
Kadyrov confirmed some of his fighters had been killed.
‘Unfortunately, there are already losses among the natives of the Chechen Republic. Two died, six more were injured to varying degrees,’ Kadyrov said on Telegram.
He said the killed Chechen fighters ‘chose to become heroes.’