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Kadyrov Accused of Intimidation

Published: September 9, 2003 (Issue # 900)


MOSCOW - A candidate in Chechnya's presidential election accused the Moscow-appointed Chechen administration of acting president Akhmad Kadyrov of using intimidation and violence against others on the ballot.

"There are certain bureaucrats who are putting pressure on some candidates to leave the pre-election process, and thereby clear the path for acting president Akhmad Kadyrov," Malik Saidullayev said at a news conference Monday.

The millionaire businessman said the Chechen police force, headed by Kadyrov's son Ramzan, had committed "mass violations," using intimidation, force and weapons against representatives of his father's opponents in the election race.

Saidullayev said one of his own assistants was kidnapped and tortured for four days by Ramzan Kadyrov's men and said he too had been "ambushed" by an armed crowd of Kadyrov supporters when he was recently in Chechnya.

The Kremlin has not publicly backed any of the 10 candidates in the race.

Independent polls have shown Saidullayev and Aslanbek Aslakhanov, who represents Chechnya in the State Duma, leading the race, their popularity far surpassing that of Kadyrov.

One candidate has already pulled out of the Oct. 5 elections and Aslakhanov recently threatened to withdraw his candidacy if the authorities "fail to create conditions for holding democratic elections."

Saidullayev, however, said he did not intend to withdraw his candidacy, saying it would be a "betrayal" of his supporters.

"Even if these elections are only 30 percent fair, I think I will still beat Kadyrov," he said, warning that if any more candidates withdraw, the elections would be compromised.

The chairperson of Chechnya's election commission, however, denied reports that the election race was fraught by unrest.

"Whatever Chechnya specialists say about passions running high, the exchange of insults and negative reporting in the election race, is untrue," Abdulkerim Arsakhanov was quoted by Interfax as saying.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in “Downton Abbey” if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russia’s best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russia’s most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkin’s, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontov’s short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library System’s website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Club’s weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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