Wednesday, March 09, 2005

FAZ on the death of Maskhadov

The FAZ reports in detail on the death of Chechen leader Aslan Maskhadov at the hands either of spetsnaz commandos or perhaps his bodyguard, depending on who you read.

Interestingly, the mighty if perhaps not terribly exciting German broadsheet reports, quoting sources in the pro-Russian boss of Chechnya's staff, that Maskhadov's death might not have been all the FSB cracks it up to be.
"Man habe ihn lebend fassen wollen, doch sei er durch den „unachtsamen Umgang mit Waffen” getötet worden, sagte der stellvertretende tschetschenische Regierungschef Ramsan Kadyrow am Dienstag nach Angaben der Agentur Interfax. Man habe gehofft, daß Maschadow sich ergeben würde, und habe ihm eine ranghohe Stellung innerhalb des tschetschenischen Sicherheitsapparats anbieten wollen."
For non-German speakers, the deputy boss of Chechnya Ramsan Kadyrov says that they hoped Maskhadov would come quietly and intended to offer him a senior position in the (pro-Russian) security apparatus. Unfortunately, he was killed through "careless handling of weapons". Now, that could either be a cover for his blatant execution, or the truth - what the British army calls a negligent discharge, for which soldiers are traditionally fined a day's pay. I doubt there's a standard procedure for the case where your ND hits the state's most wanted man.

In an effort to dispel doubt, the FSB published photos of Maskhadov's corpse, one of which Neeka posted. (Thanks, Neeka - I wasn't expecting it and I nearly puked on my keyboard.)

Many voices have suggested that Russian efforts to discredit and now to kill Maskhadov, who was elected president in an OSCE-observed election in 1997, would strenghten the position of hardliners and international Islamists in Chechnya. Well, statements on their websites suggest precisely that has happened, feh.

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