- Kheda Goilabiyeva, 17, wept during marriage to key ally of Chechen warlord Ramzan Kadyrov at service in Grozny
- Asked three times if she wanted to marry 47-year-old police chief Nazhud Guchigov – who already has another wife
- Guchigov reportedly warned of ‘unpleasant consequences’ if she or her parents had refused to consent to marriage
- Russian child rights commissioner defended marriage saying Caucasian women ‘are shrivelled with wrinkles by 27’
- This led to women posting selfies with screwed up faces on Instagram with the hashtag #WrinkledWoman
Her resplendent white dress says it’s her wedding day, but the sadness etched on her face does not.
For this teenage bride has been forced to marry an ally of Chechen warlord Ramzan Kadyrov after apparently being threatened with kidnap if she did not comply.
Kheda Goilabiyeva, 17, looked despondent and at one point wept during the ceremony in the Chechen capital Grozny as the fearsome Kadyrov watched on from the crowd.
She was asked three times whether she wanted to marry 47-year-old police chief Nazhud Guchigov – who already has another wife – before finally and reluctantly responding yes.
The marriage has provoked outrage in Russia, fuelled by Moscow’s child rights commissioner, Pavel Astakhov, who defended the wedding by saying that Caucasian women ‘are all shrivelled with wrinkles by the age of 27’. He later apologised for his comments.
In response to the remarks, young women online have started posting selfies on Instagram with the hashtag #WrinkledWoman in which they scrunch up their faces to simulate the appearance of wrinkles. Many of the posts include sarcastic greetings to Astakhov.
The woman behind the campaign appears to be Bella Rapoport, a prominent Russian feminist writer, according to Instagram’s time stamps.
The second contributor appears to be Tonia Samsonova, a popular journalist at Echo of Moscow with a large online social media following.
Within 12 hours, the hashtag has attracted more than 120 contributions.
‘I would have killed my daughter before letting her marry like that,’ one woman said on condition of anonymity. ‘I am against early marriages.’
Announced in late April, the wedding led to an outcry in Russia, with several news reports alleging that the teenager had been forced into the marriage.
Kremlin human rights commissioner Ella Pamfilova had denounced the marriage as medieval and said she hoped that it would not take place. She called for sanctions if it were carried out.
Kadyrov however said on his Instagram account that ‘these publications are only lies! Love has no age’.
Russia’s child rights commissioner, Pavel Astakhov, said that the wedding did not violate laws on the minimum age for marriage, but he has not responded to questions regarding polygamy.
Kadyrov, 38, has helped the Kremlin battle an Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus.
But the former rebel – accused by human rights groups of overseeing torture, extrajudicial executions and corruption – has shown an increased readiness in recent months to challenge Putin’s authority.