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Human Rights Groups Criticize Upcoming Chechen Vote

(RFE/RL) 23 November 2005 -- International human rights groups today criticized legislative elections set for 27 November in Chechnya, calling them a mere pretense of a political process.

The International Helsinki Federation and the International Human Rights Federation has said in a report presented in Moscow by several groups that assurances by Russian authorities that "Chechnya has returned to a peaceful life is not the case in reality."

Chechnya continues to see daily armed clashes between separatist rebels and Russian forces six years after Moscow sent troops to the republic in October 1999 to re-establish control.

That followed Russia's defeat in a first war against separatist guerrillas in 1994-1996.