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When it comes to stopping terrorists, homosexuals and other “public enemies,” Chechnya — the semi-autonomous Russian region infamous for its months-long campaign of the kidnapping, torturing and murder of LGBTQ people — has long ascribed to “shared responsibility,” the belief that families are guilty of creating such people. So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov is now forcing men to marry multiple wives — polygamy — in an attempt to stop broken families whose offspring may grow up to become terrorists.
Chechnya is anti-gay but allows male polygamy
Using a specially created group called the Council for Harmonizing Marriage and Family Relations, the government of Chechnya has been sending police into the homes of divorced adults, asking them intrusive questions about their divorces and then pressuring them to reunite with their estranged partners.
If the man has re-married since his divorce, Rasul Uspanov, secretary of the Council, says that men can have multiple wives.
“[If] the husband married a second time and after the work of our commission returned his first wife, now he lives with two wives, because according to Islam a man has the right to marry four times,” Uspanov told the BBC.
Only one-third of Russians approve of Chechnya’s stance on polygamy, an issue that was reignited in 2015 when Kadyrov personally arranged the marriage of a 17-year-old Chechen girl named Louisa Goilabiyeva to an already married 57-year-old local police chief named Nazhud Guchigov.
Even if divorced Chechen men have since re-married, it’s polygamy … or else
Most Chechen police are actually former military agents, some of which actively kidnap and torture people, so when they visit divorced couples and “suggest” reuniting, it’s really more of a threat.
The state-controlled television station, Grozny TV, shows these re-couplings, casting them as celebratory “reality TV” programs. The adult partners mostly look down and remain silent while being questioned by police. After living again with their old partners, the adults mostly avoid one another, spending time with the children instead.
The New York Times notes, “However farcical on the surface, the program, as with all social policy in Chechnya, is lethally serious. Failure to comply with demands of the regional leadership can have severe consequences, far worse than living with a despised former partner.”
The Council has set up a hotline for divorced and separated individuals to call if they want help reuniting with their former partners. The Council says it has already reunited 948 couples and plans on reuniting about 4,000 more.
Featured image by AlexeyBorodin via iStock