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Russia: U.S. Criticizes Chechen Presidential Election

Washington, 6 October 2003 (RFE/RL) - The United States has criticized the presidential elections in Chechnya, saying the weekend poll in the breakaway Russian republic did not meet international standards. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said today the election's legitimacy would likely be questioned by the Chechen people. Boucher said the exit of all viable challengers to Akhmed-hadji Kadyrov's candidacy and the overt control of Chechen media by pro-Kadyrov forces lead Washington to conclude that the elections were neither fair nor free.

Kadyrov, who was backed by the Kremlin, won 81 percent of the vote cast in yesterday's poll, according to the republic's election commission.