Inside the Instagram accounts of the world's most brutal dictators

Inside the Instagram accounts of the world's most brutal dictators

PoliticsOctober 13, 2016

One of the most curious and consistent traits of leaders who perform senseless acts of large-scale evil is their ability to be simultaneously mundane and completely ridiculous. Nowhere is this more blatant than on the Instagram accounts of dictators, where the pitiful, often absurd banality of their photos and videos juxtaposes with the bloody reality of the atrocities they've committed.

Take Chechnyan dictator Ramzan Kadyrov for example. A second-generation death squad commander and self-proclaimed Putin fanboy, he's made international headlines for his unthinkable cruelty and brutality toward his political enemies.

But, thanks to his Instagram, we also know he loves baby animals, sniffing flowers with old women and taking selfies of his his potato-like physique during workouts.

This kind of nonsense is almost universal among corrupt, power-hungry men; pretty much every dictator of the modern age pulls the same confusingly awkward moves with their Instagram accounts, the best of which we've chronicled for your supreme and undeniable secondhand embarrassment.

Bashar Al-Asaad

Despite instigating a horrific, multi-national war that has brutally killed more than 220,000 people, uprooted half of the country's population and left the country in ISIS-infested ruins, Syrian president Al-Asaad's Instagram makes his life look like that day in elementary school when you had to visiting a nursing home so you could "experience old perspectives in a new way!" His photo selection is almost exclusively grandmas or his wife Asma physically touching grandmas — although to be fair, there are also a lot of photos of her touching children. Often multiple children at once. She seems very touchy-feely.

According to Assad's Instagram, Asma has touched everyone to ever exist and by God, she's still at it.

When he does post pictures of himself, he's senior photo-posing in a way that makes him look like he's the type of guy who wears socks and tennis shoes during sex. That, or he posts a candid shot of him — you guessed it — walking around. Color us exhilarated!

Not exactly the imagery you'd expect from a person who used chemical warfare to exterminate his own civilians here, but ... okay.

To accentuate his mundanity, he even posted a "#TBT" of him and some people touching a smooth flat thing, on the same day that ISIS overran several Christian villages in Syria's eastern Hassakeh province, taking at least 220 Assyrian Christians hostage. "A tour of the labs," it says. Beautiful day for a tour!

Instagram account here.

Rodrigo Duterte

"#goodvibes only!" reads the bio on Philippines dictator Rodrigo Duterte's Instagram. It's quite cute, considering he's currently staging a murderous, dictatorial witch hunt for recreational drug users in his home country. Those he finds, he executes.

Pretty #badvibes if you ask us.

In the span of just a few recent weeks, Duterte has made international headlines for murdering hundreds of civilians as part of his war on crime. Funny to try to solve crime with murder, but, hey — what do we know?

Since he took office in June, an average of 13 people a day have been either publicly slaughtered by masked assailants, assassinated by police without any sort of investigation, or found as unidentified corpses on the streets, wrapped up in packing tape with signs saying things like: “Don’t follow me, I’m a criminal.”

Weirdly, this has resulted in a 91 percent approval rating for the guy, even though he's vowed to pardon any police and military personnel who kill drug users or sellers. Huh.

Considering the killing spree he's on, it's no surprise that he has no time for social media. His Instagram account is largely just screenshots of English news articles about him, although he does have occasional moments of bizarro gold like this one where he posts a photo made up of as many pixels as you have nipples:

... or this one where he admits to having a dirty, dirty mouth.

Also, stop the hate, guys:

Instagram account here.

Nicolas Maduro

As Venezuela plunges deeply into economic and social chaos, their embattled leader is busy posting selfies that try very hard to make him look like he's busy doing stuff. What kind of stuff is unclear, because his favorite angle seems to be a close-up shot of him yelling, but ... we're sure he's doing stuff nonetheless.

However, a few portraits of Maduro find him doing the "I am doing things" dance in other ways — here is signing something while yelling, there he is giving yelling near people. Everywhere he is doing his best impression of a winded jogger trying to run away from diabetes and, more abstractly, himself.

Lookin' good!

Other selfies demonstrate his supreme and enviable ability to make a signature, cone-like hand shape ...

... and one shows us what he does when his wife's not around:

Meanwhile, food shortages are creating a crushing famine, a huge blow to a country that used to be one of the wealthiest in South America. Crime and inflation are on the rise, the country's transportation system has ground to a halt, and mass shortages of basic goods like toilet paper are sending the country's citizens into a hellish abyss where having no toilet paper almost doesn't matter because there is no food to make toilet paper necessary.

So, where's all the money going?

Maduro's Instagram provides a helpful hint: large portraits of men's faces.

According to Al Jazeera, Maduro’s Chavista regime doesn’t even try to hide its corruption, "because officials feel immune to punishment."

Thankfully for him, he still has some supporters out there in the din:

Instagram account here.

Ramzan Kadyrov

On Instagram, Ramzan Kadyrov looks like a smiling ding-dong who really loves wrestling and named his pet dog “Tarzan.”

Offline, not so much. The Chechnyan overlord has been accused of organizing the murder of beloved anti-Putin dissident Boris Nemtsov, a middle-aged father of four. More directly, there are apparently videos of him beheading a handful of soldiers during the Second Chechen War. By most accounts, he's an obsessively homicidal maniac who's been killing since post-puberty. Yet, somehow, he maintains one of the most adorably jovial and innocently engaging Instagrams of any head of state today. Call us crazy, but Kadyrov looks suspiciously similar to your least intelligent — yet most fertile — friend from your freshman dorm who somehow managed to eek out a career as a mall Santa.

As we speak, Kadyrov’s Instagram account overfloweth with more than 2.1 million users – a figure that far exceeds some of America’s most loved and important celebrities. Mysteriously though, Chechnya's population is only 1.25 million. That means he's so entertaining on social media, that he's attracted fans worldwide. Pretty impressive for a cherubic angel of death like himself.

However, it's important to see Kadyrov in more lights than one. While it's true that local beheadings seem to skyrocket anytime he shows up for the party, it's also true that he's just a big doofus who loves kitties. A few months ago, he endearingly asked his Instagram followers to help him find his missing cat. So far, no one has been able to locate the runaway puss, which probably makes him want to behead some more people.

Here he is with his cat in happier times:

 

Дорогие друзья! Совсем немного времени осталось до грандиозного события в спортивной жизни Чечни! Пятого октября в Дворце спорта "Колизей" состоятся финальные поединки Международного турнира по смешанным единоборствам "Grand Prix Akhmat". Турнир посвящён Дню Грозного. Столице Чеченской Республики в этот день исполняется 198 лет. Победители восьми боёв получат чемпионские пояса. Но это не всё! Организаторы включили в турнир три детских поединка. После неоднократных предварительных боёв и одержанных побед, в них принимают участие Ахмад, Эли и Адам. Соперник Эли уже определился. Ему бросил вызов ровесник, с которым у Эли совсем недавно был бой в Сочи. Мальчики приступили к усиленным тренировкам по борьбе, боксу и дзюдо. Пояса для победителей детских поединков уже изготовлены. Желаю удачи всем финалистам! #Кадыров #Ахмат #Россия #Чечня #Спорт #Колизей

A video posted by Ramzan Kadyrov (@kadyrov_95) on

 

Дорогие друзья! Недавно я сообщал, что мы выпустили на территории Ножай-Юртовского района в окрестностях Беноя более 100 оленей. Сегодня мы отпустили на склонах гор еще 155 пятнистых оленей и благородных маралов. Таким образом, только в Ножай-Юртовском заказнике их количество составляет 255 голов. Все они выросли в природном заповеднике вблизи моего родного села Центарой. Развитию фауны Чеченской Республики мы уделяем особое внимание и эта работа будет продолжена! #Кадыров #Россия #Чечня #Природа

A video posted by Ramzan Kadyrov (@kadyrov_95) on

... It should also be noted that he supposedly has a private prison on his own compound where dissenters are known to never to return from.

Instagram account here.