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Russia: Chechen Minister Rejects Criticism Of Executions

Grozny, 9 September 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Chechnya's First Deputy Prime Minister Movladi Udugov has sharply criticized Moscow's opening of a criminal investigation into the execution of two people in the breakaway republic.

In comments reported today, Udugov told Interfax the investigation is a "crude and short-sighted provocation" aimed at disrupting relations between Moscow and Grozny.

The case in question relates to the public execution by firing squad of a man and a woman, convicted of involvement in murder by an Islamic court. The Chechen government said today that two more people sentenced to death by the Islamic court will be publicly executed in Grozny tomorrow.

Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov says the executions are necessary to combat a crime wave sweeping the Caucasus republic. Russian President Boris Yeltsin has condemned the moves.