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Chechnya President Orders Muslim Rule

February 04, 1999|From Times Wire Reports

Aslan Maskhadov, president of Russia's separatist province of Chechnya, said his mainly Muslim region will now base its life entirely on traditional Islamic sharia law. It was not immediately clear how exactly Chechnya would be ruled and whether the president's post would remain, but Maskhadov made clear all spheres, including government, education and military, will be affected. Maskhadov, considered a moderate in Moscow, faces pressure to step down from his more radical and more religious rivals. The announcement appeared to be a bid to regain his grip on power. Russia withdrew its troops from Chechnya after signing a 1997 peace deal. No country has recognized Chechnya as independent, but Russia exerts no control over the region.

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