A 17-year-old Chechen Girl Forced To Wed 57-year-old Married Man Who Claimed To Be 46
"Lock up your wives and ban them from using WhatsApp," fumed police chief Ramzan Kadyrov.
He was giving a chilling reaction to the condemnation of the wedding of a 17-year-old with a 57-year-old, who claimed to be 46.
After news of the forced marriage spread across messenger service WhatsApp, he told a local broadcaster that husbands must control how their wives communicate.
The wedding was of Nazhud Guchigov, the revolting 57-year-old who had forced a 17-year-old girl, Luiza, called Kheda Goilabiyeva, to marry him, according to dailymail.
His statements followed global outrage at having threatened to kidnap the bride and face her with "unpleasant consequences".
She had been asked thrice whether she wanted to marry the man who already has a wife and children who are older than his bride. Finally, but reluctantly, she agreed. It was the "the wedding of the millennium," according to yahoo.
The subject has stirred a storm on legal and moral issues in Russia's republic, Chechnya. The Russian investigative paper, Novaya Gazeta, reported that he threatened her parents.
"He is married and has children. She's younger than his children. The Chechen woman is powerless; she can expect help from nowhere," one of Goilabiyeva's girlfriends posted, according to The Daily Beast. "Kheda told him that she has a boyfriend, but it was disregarded. They say that her boyfriend was beaten half to death."
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who was a guest at the wedding, accused the media of "inaccurately depicting the situation and meddling in the couple's private lives," according to The Moscow Times.
"I am sure those who unceremoniously interfered for a long time in the private lives of Nazhud and Luiza will answer in court," Kadyrov, who is rumored to also have a second wife, wrote on his Instagram on Friday. "The appropriate actions are already being prepared."
He then dubbed this "the wedding of the millennium," right up there with Prince William and Kate Middleton's "wedding of the century."
Russian law does not permit polygamy or underage marriages, though some clauses are allowed under some circumstances.
This wedding has been registered as an official partnership, as shown by the stamps in the newlyweds' passports.
How much legal autonomy does Chechnya, located in Russia but effectively run by Kadyrov, have?
"The rule of law does not exist in Chechnya in cases concerning Kadyrov's friends," Sergei Babinets, a member of the Joint Mobile Group, an organization of human-rights defenders in Chechnya, told Anna Nemtsova at The Daily Beast.
"I am sure that the FSB [the Russian secret police] have many files on crimes committed by Kadyrov," Babinets continued. "One day their patience will come to the critical point, but for now Kadyrov still has Putin's carte blanche in Chechnya."
"By justifying this scandalous wedding, Russia demonstrated moral degradation, we are rolling several centuries back in moral development, it seems," said Timur Olevsky, Russian television correspondent for Rain.
Surprisingly, many in the Russian Parliament supported the marriage of old men with teenagers. Russian children's rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov said: "Emancipation and sexual maturity come earlier in the Caucasus, let's not be hypocritical. There are places where women are already shriveled by the age of 27, and look about 50 to us," Astakhov told Russian News Service radio on Thursday.
However, he later retracted his statement, noting: "women of any age are wonderful and delightful."
Unfortunately, the issue is not a problem in Russia. "Many generations of Chechens grew up in polygamist families," Chechen journalist Milana Mazayeva told The Daily Beast. "My own grandmother and other relatives had several mothers. They did not know who their real mother was."