Anglo-American Press Skeptical about Chechnya Elections

Lack of understanding displayed in press traditionally hostile to Moscow
Anglo-American press outlets describe the presidential election in Chechnya today as a farce, while the team of CIS observers claimed that everything went according to plan and that there was no evidence of a rigged vote, of abnormalities or of pressure being exerted on voters. The BBC website questions "whether a vote can be fair in prevailing conditions" adding that "Human rights campaigners in Russia and abroad have denounced the election as a farce, accusing the Kremlin of trying to fix the result".

One source quoted by the BBC, usually a credible news source, is Aslanbek Aslakhanov, ex-presidential candidate who abandoned the race, who claims that around 200,000 names on the electoral register were absent or dead. This figure, in an electoral register of 580,000 voters, is ludicrous. The BBC site quotes observers who claim that this election is without foundation since an internationally recognized election took place in 1997, in which Aslan Maskhadov was elected.

However, Maskhadov, the leader of the terrorist elements sowing chaos in the Republic and the region, hiding their criminal activity with a cloak they claim to be "liberation movement" or "freedom fighters", saw his tenure under that election run out in 2002. SKY NEWS, which descended to ridiculous jingoistic levels during the Anglo-American attack against Iraq, with insinuations that September 11th was caused by the Iraqis, begins its coverage of the Chechnya election with the paragraph "Chechnya's controversial presidential elections are taking place amid allegations of harassment and vote-rigging". From whom? Those who lost the election.

The Washington Post, a good example of the coverage of this election in the USA, is equally skeptical: "an election that was supposed to propel Chechnya along the road to what Putin calls "normalization" has instead turned into a one-sided affair that almost certainly will confirm the rule of Kremlin-appointed administrator Akhmad Kadyrov. Violence, pressure and the strategic use of a compliant court system, they say, have sidelined the strongest three challengers to Kadyrov, making Sunday's vote more coronation than competition".

Equally, the tone of the New York Times is anti-Moscow, the slant being that the election was rigged in Kadyrov's favour. In the Spanish press, El Mundo's first paragraph quotes a Russian source as stating that "The elections are carrying on normally" while El Paнs has the word "Farse" in the lead paragraph. ABC speaks about "The president elected by the Kremlin".

Le Monde calls the election "Strictly controlled by Moscow" and uses inverted commas to refer with disdain to a "presidential election", while in its opening paragraph quoting the terrorist Aslan Maskhadov, described as "an independence movement leader".

With biased coverage such as this, historically and hysterically anti-Moscow, what chance does the public in Western Europe and the USA have of ever understanding the truth in Chechnya?

Author`s name Margarita Kicherova