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Chechens Name Maskhadov Successor

10 March 2005 -- Leading members of Chechnya's resistance movement have named a successor to rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov, who was killed by Russian forces in Chechnya.

Akhmed Zakaev, a London-based spokesman for Maskhadov, and Shamil Basaev, a Chechen guerrilla commander, have backed Abdul-Karim Sadulaev, a conservative Muslim, to take the post.

Maskhadov was killed on 8 March by Russian forces in northern Chechnya. Some considered him to be a moderate voice for the Chechen resistance movement, compared to some of the movement's more radical leaders, such as Basaev.

Russian officials have praised Maskhadov's killing, while Chechen fighters have vowed to continue fighting Russian rule in the republic.

Lord Frank Judd, former rapporteur for the Council of Europe on Chechnya, told RFE/RL today that Maskhadov's killing may complicate a possible political solution to the Chechnya conflict.

"I'm a little bit surprised at the apparent jubilation [at Maskhadov's death], in some quarters, in Russia because, it seems to me that Maskhadov and the people close to him represented a more moderate element amongst the fighters, and I've always believed that that is the element we needed to get back into a political process," Judd said.

Meanwhile, Maskhadov's family has appealed to the international community to pressure Moscow into returning Maskhadov's body to them for burial. Russian officials say that won't be happening, because it would go against antiterrorism protocol.

(RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service/"The Moscow Times"/

See also:
Analysis: What Comes After Maskhadov?
Chechen Leader Gives Exclusive Interview To RFE/RL
Reports Say Chechen Leader Maskhadov Killed