Russia: August 30, 2004

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 Yesterday's election in Chechnya put the Russian backed candidate, current Chechen Interior Minister Alu Alkhanov into office as head of the province. Alkhanov is, in effect, a warlord, with his own private army, many of them on the government payroll and in uniform. Russia's plan for pacifying Chechnya is to back those Chechen clans and warlords who will keep the peace, and fight those Chechen factions that won't. In return, the "loyal" Chechens can, within some broad limits, steal financial aid from the Russian government, and engage in criminal activities. This has been the strategy for several years, and the government shows no sign of changing. 

 

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