Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov and at least 30 others died and 30 wounded in an explosion today during celebrations at a stadium Dinamo in the Chechen capital.
The blast happened beneath the VIP stand where political and military leaders were reviewing a military parade commemorating Victory Day. The stadium was crowded with people celebrating Victory Day, which marks the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.
Among the wounded was the top commander of Russian forces in Chechnya, Gen. Valery Baranov, CNN reports.
The officer confirmed to RIAN that among wounded are head of the Chechen Interior Ministry Alu Alkhanov and Chechnya commandant Grigory Fomenko.
There have been many attempts to kill Akhmad Kadyrov. Few people who know Chechnya would have predicted that he would survive so long, BBC news reports. Bombers have come close in the past - this time they got a direct hit. The attack was probably carried out by Chechen rebels, who view him as a traitor. He was on their side in the first Chechen war of 1994-96, as a religious leader with his own armed detachment.
But later he switched sides, eventually becoming the Russian government's puppet president in what was widely seen as a rigged election.
In exclusive interview to PRAVDA.Ru correspondents, in July, 2003 Akhmad Kadyrov explained his position. Akhmad Kadyrov: "I grew up in a very religious family. I could read the Qu'ran easily at the age of five. Do you think I can stay calm when such people (like Shamil Basayev, Aslan Maskhadov or Movlady Udugov)try to teach me what Islam is, how to pronounce it and what to do with it?! PRAVDA.Ru: But you declared Jihad on Russia in 1995. You were waging war on Shamil Basayev and Aslan Maskhadov's side. Akhmad Kadyrov: Yes, I was on that side, and I am proud that I was able to choose the right way to go. There are specific reasons for why I declared Jihad and why I changed my position. That was a time when people were gripped with the idea of liberation. They thought that people like Dudayev or Yandarbiyev wanted freedom and an Islamic state for Chechnya. And what happened next? There is a rule of Sharia: If the enemy wants to suppress you, you are supposed to put up a strong resistance. But the enemy did not come on its own: We brought it to us. We went to Dagestan, arranged a massacre there and then returned. This means, as they say, that Russia is the enemy that came to the borders and demanded that the bandits should be delivered - Basayev, Khattab, everyone who had been in Dagestan. But instead of delivering the bandits, Aslan Maskhadov appointed them commanders. He accepted the war, and that was when I stood up against them".
Based on PRAVDA.Ru articles and on news agencies