WITH flashing lights, banners and celebrity guests such as British violinist Vanessa-Mae, a spectacular complex of high-rise towers was opened last week in what was once the war-torn capital of Grozny.
Islamist rebels killed at least three people yesterday as they tried to seize Chechnya's parliament in a brazen suicide attack that showed Russia is failing to quell the insurgency on its southern flank.
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ONE OF Russia's most wanted men – a Chechen activist who counts actress Vanessa Redgrave among his supporters – has been freed after being arrested in Poland on Russian charges related to the Chechen war.
One of Russia's most wanted men - a charismatic Chechen activist who counts Vanessa Redgrave among his supporters - was arrested yesterday on Russian charges of murder, kidnapping and terrorism during Chechnya's separatist war in the 1990s.
THE president of Russia's troubled republic of Chechnya yesterday rejected Austrian officials' contention that he was behind the killing of an opponent in Vienna.
A SUICIDE bomber blew himself up near a police patrol in the capital of Russia's war-scarred Chechnya province, wounding three officers.
CHECHEN rebels have called for separatist leader Akhmed Zakayev to be killed, saying he had abandoned Islam by recognising the legitimacy of the region's Kremlin-backed government.
PRESIDENT Dmitry Medvedev yesterday ordered a Russian general "to put in order" the Muslim-majority province of Ingushetia, a day after a suicide bomb attack on a police station killed 20 and injured 136.
IN A city which was, less than two years ago, a byword for destruction, evening life has been transformed. Women stroll on pavements which did not exist last year. Teenagers cluster under newly installed street lights, chatting on mobile phones. Young men gather to race cars on a freshly paved road. Scenes which, considering this is Grozny, capital of Chechnya, feel out of place and from another time.
A RUSSIAN court yesterday handed out long jail terms to four army servicemen for killing civilians in Chechnya in a move hailed by a human rights watchdog as a significant victory for justice.
NOT even the snow can disguise the fact that Ardon, in North Ossetia-Alania, is a drab little town with a sinister atmosphere.
CHECHNYA installed as president yesterday a 30-year-old with his own militia force, praised by allies for restoring order to the Russian province but accused by rights groups of killing and abducting civilians.
CHECHNYA reopened its civilian airport yesterday in a move intended to show that the war-ravaged region is recovering under its pro-Moscow government.
A FEARED Chechen warlord has been nominated president of the Russian republic, despite persistent allegations of torture laid against him.
A ROW broke out last night between a press freedom group and Russian authorities over the possible role of Chechen police in the murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya.
A SIX-MONTH amnesty for rebels in Russia's Chechnya region expired with 550 fighters having swapped their mountain hideouts for civilian life on the promise of not being arrested, authorities said.
THE prime minister of war-battered Chechnya said yesterday that his government wants to restore the Russian republic's tourism business.
RUSSIAN police yesterday killed an Arab who security officials said commanded foreign mercenaries in Chechnya and was al-Qaeda's top emissary in the troubled North Caucasus.
IT IS time to end the fiction that Vladimir Putin's "dictatorship of law" has made post-communist Russia any less lawless. The murder of Anna Politkovskaya, one of Russia's bravest and best journalists, a woman who dared to expose the brutal murders committed by Russian troops in Chechnya, is proof that the Russian president has delivered nothing more than a run-of-the-mill dictatorship with the usual contempt for law.
THE assassinated journalist Anna Politkovskaya's newspaper yesterday published an unfinished article on torture in Chechnya that she had been working on when she was killed.