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,
[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