October 2, 2003
Los Angeles Times

Few Unknowns, Scant Hope in Chechen Vote

by Kim Murphy

GROZNY, Russia -- There is an election coming here in Chechnya. You can tell, because the capital is awash in campaign posters, almost all of them for one man. . . .

Seven men are vying to be president of Chechnya under Russian President Vladimir V. Putin's plan to end years of war and halt -- by ballots this time, instead of tanks -- the republic's stubborn ambition for independence. But the other six candidates have nothing that compares to Kadyrov's advantage. Their posters don't show them shaking Putin's hand.

The main drama in Sunday's elections, many human rights observers say, is how handily the Kremlin-appointed administrator of Chechnya will become its elected president.

Kadyrov's own press minister, Bislan Gantamirov, estimated in August that his boss, whose clandestine security force many Chechens have come to fear more than the Russian army, would get less than 5% of the vote "if people are not forced to vote for him."


Nick Paton Walsh, "Kremlin's choice wins in Chechnya," Guardian, October 7, 2003

[Chechen rebel websites have blamed Russian special services for the blast, as did much of the Russian media yesterday, . . .

He added that such an operation would probably not have been performed in the tranquil US-backed state - where the Pentagon has a long-established military presence - without some level of consent from Washington.--Nick Paton Walsh, "Putin gets blame for Qatar hit," The Observer, February 15, 2004]

The event crowns the remarkable transformation of a barely educated rebel fighter into a powerful regional figure and loyal servant of Moscow, the BBC's Russian affairs analyst Steven Eke says.--"New Chechen president takes oath," BBC News, April 5, 2007

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