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Chechnya: Maskhadov Vows Armed Resistance, Dismisses Election

Moscow, 2 October 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The last democratically elected president of Chechnya, Aslan Maskhadov, said that armed resistance against Russia will continue until "the occupiers leave." Maskhadov said in an interview published today in the Moscow biweekly "Novaya gazeta" that his "constitutional duty" is to defend the sovereignty of Chechnya.

Maskhadov was elected in 1997 in an internationally recognized poll and has led resistance since Russian troops re-entered Chechnya in 1999.

Maskhadov said the Kremlin-organized presidential election, scheduled for this Sunday (5 October), is illegitimate.

The Moscow-appointed administrator of Chechnya, Akhmed-hadji Kadyrov, is expected to win that contest after all serious rivals either dropped out of the race or were barred from taking part.