Updated 12:17 AM EDT, Mon, Oct 18, 2021

Teenage Bride Forced to Marry Chechen Police Chief Following Alleged Threat of Kidnap

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One 47-year-old Chechen police chief is making an honest woman out of a Russian teen, 30 years his junior. As it turned out, he's also making the poor young woman destitute of true happiness.

In a wedding that has sparked an outcry throughout Russia, Kheda Goilabiyeva, who just turned 17 on May 1st, was forced to marry and become the second wife of Nazhud Guchigov against her will, as told by the The Times. The police chief had threatened to kidnap the teen and warned of dire consequences if her family won't consent to the marriage.

The union, which is of partisan nature, has a blessing from the republic's Kremlin-backed leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who was also a spectator at the ceremonies.

The bride looked distressed in many of the photos taken at the wedding held at the Chechen capital Grozny, and was even seen shedding tears on one instance. She had to be asked three times before she was able to reluctantly say her "yes" on wanting to marry his groom, according to a DailyMail article.

Guchigov has already been married once and his second wedding, which was announced in late April, was denounced by many of his countrymen, including Kremlin human rights commissioner Ella Pamfilova. According to her, the marriage is medieval and should not have happened. 

Kadyrov, on the other hand, took to his Instagram account his support for the marriage, amid controversies saying that "these publications are only lies!" and that "love has no age." The 38-year-old former rebel was instrumental in the Kremlin campaign against Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus, according to the DailyMail. The man has "ruled Chechnya with an iron fist since being installed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2007." He was also accused of human rights violation and corruption.

Meanwhile, one of Russia's top officials and commissioner on child rights, Pavel Astakhov, tried to justify marriages of very young women to older men by postulating that "there are places where the [Caucasian] women are already wrinkled at 27."

This has led to online protests wherein other Russian women posted their selfies while making faces on their Instagram accounts under the hashtag #WrinkledWoman and #helloastakhov, the BuzzFeed reports. The commissioner later apologized for his remarks.

The Russian federal law has established the legal age of consent for marriage at 18. There are regions, however, where the limit has been set lower, Buzzfeed also notes. Chechnya's age of consent is 17, and "the constitution forbids interfering in citizens' personal business," Astakhov cited.

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