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MASKHADOV'S DEATH SPARKS DIVIDED OPINION

RIA Novosti

MOSCOW, March 9 (RIA Novosti) - Aslan Maskhadov's death will result in a more stable situation in the south of Russia, says Murat Karaketov, chief of the Karachaevo-Cerkessian president's office.

"He was a leader for insurgent gangs and therefore his destruction ought to weaken the organizational structure of Chechen militants," Karaketov told RIA Novosti in Cherkessia. "But international terrorism, which is not Mr. Maskhadov alone, has yet to be uprooted."

This opinion is not shared by the Duma's Rodina faction leader Dmitry Rogozin."I don't think that Maskhadov's death will mean a drastic decline in terrorist activity in the Caucasus," he said.

He says that Maskhadov has long lost his control over terrorists. "Maskhadov has been long barred from business, his only subordinates are his unit of bodyguards," Mr. Rogozin said.

"A new generation of raiders has appeared in Chechnya. It is those who seized Nord Ost and Beslan and who set up jam mats in all the North Caucasian republics," added Mr. Rogozin. "These ones treat all old militants with scorn, with the exception for Basaev."

Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov told RIA Novosti during the Duma session intermission: "The Duma will not stage any hearings on why Mr. Maskhadov has been killed rather than taken alive. We have already clarified this matter," he said.

"I guess that the task given to law-enforcement bodies to destroy ringleaders, is being done. Other ringleaders are next," Mr. Gryzlov said.

Relatives of Aslan Maskhadov will not have access to his body for burying it and to information on his burial place, Mikhail Grishankov, deputy head of the Duma security committee, said.

The burial of terrorists is done in accordance with terorrism and burial legislation, he said. Mr. Grishankov specified that amendments inserted into the undertaker's law in November 2002 outline that those killed in anti-terrorist operations are buried in unmarked graves.

According to Federation Council Speaker Sergey Mironov, the destruction of Mr. Maskhadov is an intermediary result, but a very important one.

He noted that for many people supporting and financing Chechen militants, Mr. Maskhadov was a brand that attracted money.

"Mr. Maskhadov has on his conscience the blood of children, including Beslan children. It is evident for me and it is a pity that some people in Europe do not realize this," Mr. Mironov said.



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