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Last Updated: Friday, 2 March 2007, 22:56 GMT
Chechen PM confirmed as president
Ramzan Kadyrov in February 2006
Mr Kadyrov controls a powerful militia accused of rights abuses
A former Chechen rebel fighter who switched sides to back the authorities in Moscow has been confirmed as the volatile southern republic's president.

Ramzan Kadyrov, 30, was endorsed by the Chechen parliament after being nominated by the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, on Thursday.

Mr Kadyrov told parliament his priority would be to rebuild Chechnya's economy.

He is a highly controversial character, accused of widespread human rights abuses from his time as prime minister.

Rights groups 'aghast'

Raman Kadyrov is the son of the pro-Moscow ex-president Akhmad Kadyrov, who was assassinated in 2004.

Aged 16, he led a group of fierce rebels fighting Russian control of Chechnya. By his mid-20s he had switched sides, soon to become the republic's prime minister.

Map of Chechnya
The BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes in Moscow says now, five months after his 30th birthday, he is Chechnya's new president and human rights groups are aghast.

Men under Mr Kadyrov's command during his time as Chechen prime minister are accused of widespread kidnappings and systematic torture in Chechnya's prisons.

Mr Putin is thought to have backed Mr Kadyrov because he believes he is the only man who can keep thousands of former rebel fighters in line and prevent Chechnya's return to the chaos of the 1990s, our correspondent says.

He succeeds Alu Alkhanov who was dismissed by Mr Putin on Thursday. Mr Alkhanov has been made a Russian deputy justice minister.




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