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A 17-year-old girl was forced to marry a man who was already married and at least 30 years older than her in “the wedding of the millennium.”
The incident has raised legal and ethical issues in Russia and its republic Chechnya.
Luiza Goilabiyeva, called Kheda, 17, was married on Saturday to Chechen police officer Nazhud Guchigov, who was originally reported to be 57 (though he says he is 46), is already married, and has children who are older than his new bride.
The Russian investigative paper Novaya Gazeta reported that Goilabiyeva was being forced to marry a local official. He reportedly threatened her parents, demanding that he marry her on the day of her 17th birthday, May 1, and even warned that he would kidnap Goilabiyeva.
“He is married and has children. She’s younger than his children. The Chechen woman is powerless; she can expect help from nowhere,” one of Goilabiyeva’s girlfriends posted, according to The Daily Beast. “Kheda told him that she has a boyfriend, but it was disregarded. They say that her boyfriend was beaten half to death.”
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who attended the wedding ceremony, accused the media of “inaccurately depicting the situation and meddling in the couple’s private lives,” according to The Moscow Times.
“I am sure those who unceremoniously interfered for a long time in the private lives of Nazhud and Luiza will answer in court,” Kadyrov, who is rumored to also have a second wife, wrote on his Instagram on Friday. “The appropriate actions are already being prepared.”
He then dubbed this “the wedding of the millennium,” right up there with Prince William and Kate Middleton’s “wedding of the century.”
‘Kadyrov still has Putin’s carte blanche in Chechnya’
Neither polygamous nor underage marriages are permitted under Russian law (though certain clauses allow for marriage at 16 under special circumstances).