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MosNews: Putin Admits Kidnappings Afflict Russia’s Chechnya

posted by FerrasB on October, 2005 as Imperialism

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President Putin Admits Kidnappings Afflict Russia’s Chechnya

Created: 27.09.2005 17:35 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 17:35 MSK > document.write(get_ago(1127828118)); </SCRIPT>


Lawlessness and kidnapping still plague citizens of Russia’s <NOBR>Chechnya</NOBR>, President <NOBR>Vladimir Putin</NOBR> said on Tuesday during a TV show, six years after coming to power on pledges of bringing the region’s criminals to book.

A Chechen woman who said she was one of thousands who had lost their sons to kidnappers asked him in a nationwide phone-in to solve the problem, and he said those responsible would be found and punished.

“This is one of the most serious questions, which have been heard everywhere and all the time in recent years,” Putin was quoted by Reuters as saying.

“It is linked to the impossibility of fully resolving security questions ... We will continue our work to find those missing, and those who are to blame for these crimes.”

Rights groups say hundreds of Chechens have gone missing since Putin, as prime minister, sent troops back into Chechnya in 1999 — an act which underpinned his popularity and propelled him into the Kremlin in presidential elections six months later, Reuters added.

Activists blame pro-Moscow forces for many of the kidnappings. Often, they say, rebels’ relatives are kidnapped to put pressure on the separatists to lay down their arms.

Pro-Moscow forces deny the allegations, but Putin said they could well be true.

“It is impossible to say who stands behind these crimes: disguised bandits or law enforcement workers abusing their power,” he said.

The Kremlin has refused any rebel overtures for peace talks, focusing on crushing the rebel groups while running a unilateral peace plan that includes parliamentary elections this November.

“The main solution to the problem is the political regulation of Chechnya, with the inclusion of the greatest possible number of people in this regulation,” Putin said. “I consider the Chechen parliamentary elections very important.”

Rebel news sources said Putin’s pledge was meaningless, saying the policemen were themselves to blame for kidnappings and would never be able to stop the problem.

“This incompetent president is putting the lead role in resolving this question on the shoulders of the Kremlin’s occupying forces,” Reuters quoted a commentator on a rebel website as saying.

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