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by Raven Healing

Akhmad Kadyrov, president of Moscow's puppet administration in Chechnya, was killed in a blast in a stadium in Grozny during the May 9 celebration of Russia's World War II victory. The number dead is reported to be at least 24, with at least one child reported killed, along with Hussein Isayev, head of Kadyarov's State Council; Kadyarov's finance minister; two of Kadyrov's bodyguards; and a photographer for Reuter's news agency. Over 50 are reported injured. Col.-Gen. Valery Baranov, a Russian commander, was initially reported to have been killed, but is in fact still alive and in critical condition.

Initial reports stated that the explosion was due to landmines placed under the VIP seats. Later, Russia's NTV reported that an investigator said the explosion was caused by a 152-mm shell detonated with a wire or timer. The New York Times reported that the explosives were not placed under the seats, but within the structure of the stadium itself, implying a well-planned assassination. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the explosion, but at least five unidentified suspects have been detained.

Chechen Prime Minister Sergei Abramov will become acting president, but has made it clear that he has no intention of running for president in the next elections, slated for September.

While CNN and other western media lauded Kadyrov as a "peacekeeper," critics charge he merely presided over a facade of peace. The assassination of Kadyrov received world coverage and a new round of official statements against terrorism. But the ongoing atrocities against Chechen civilians by the Russian occupation forces have received little international response. The death of a civilian woman and her five children in the Russian aerial bombing of the mountain village of Rigakhoi in Chechnya on April 9 went virtually unnoticed by the world media--to cite but one recent example.

Among Kadyrov's many injustices was the creation of a personal military headed by his son, Ramzan Kadyrov--one of the most feared men in Chechnya--with a reputation for brutality. Ramzan Kadyrov was promoted to first deputy prime minister after the assassination, leaving him the most likely candidate to become acting president following the term of Abramov.

Chechnya still has not recovered from nearly a decade of warfare. Russian President Vladimir Putin made a surprise visit to Chechnya on May 11 and is quoted as having commented on the lack of reconstruction in the region. "I have seen Grozny from a helicopter and it looks horrible," he said.

On May 17, in a statement on Kavkaz Center website, Chechen rebel field commander Shamil Bassayev claimed his fighters were responsible for the assassination. Bassayev had also claimed responsibility for the October 2002 theatre siege in Moscow. The US State Department added him to their list of international terrorists in August 2003.


See also WW3 REPORT #97

Special to WORLD WAR 3 REPORT, May 15, 2004
Reprinting permissible with attribution

Reprinting permissible with attribution.