Friday, March 02, 2007

Vladimir Putin Places Strongman In Charge of Chechnya

GROZNY, Russia -- President Vladimir Putin gave power in Chechnya on Thursday to a widely feared pro-Russian strongman, Ramzan Kadyrov, even as Europe's human rights chief warned of widespread torture and other abuses allegedly committed by Kadyrov's henchmen.

Kadyrov, the son of an assassinated Chechen president, previously served as prime minister and had been expected to seek the presidency after he turned 30 in October -- the minimum age for the office under local law. His nomination follows Putin's dismissal of regional President Alu Alkhanov; legislative approval was expected today.

Russian and international rights groups have accused Kadyrov's paramilitary security forces of numerous abuses against civilians, including abductions, torture and killings.

At times like this I am often reminded of Pootie-poots soul. It got the a-ok from George W. Bush so this move surely isn't a sign that a violent crackdown is about to occur.