Putin, at least 12-foot-high, glowers from the wall of a gym where men are training to wrestle. He is at the centre of an unnerving triptych. On his left is the image of Akhmad Kadyrov, the former President of the Chechen Republic who was assassinated by Islamists in 2004. To his right is Akhmad’s son, Ramzan Kadyrov, now Chechnya’s president, and instigator of a personality cult that manifests itself in everything from Instagram posts of chasing ostriches to dancing with Gérard Depardieu.
[caption id="attachment_8902652" align="aligncenter" width="520"] Republic of Chechnya, 2013. Wrestling training in the central gym.[/caption]
‘I call them Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,’ jokes Davide Monteleone, pointing first to Akhmad Kadyrov, then to Ramzan, and finally to the Russian President.