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    DUMA COMMENDS RUSSIAN SPECIAL SERVICES FOR LIQUIDATION OF HIGH-PROFILE CHECHEN WARLORD

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    MOSCOW, MARCH 1, 2004, RIA NOVOSTI - Russia's parliament has applauded the liquidation of the infamous Chechen warlord Ruslan Gelayev as a "great achievement" on the part of federal special services.

    Franz Klintsevich, deputy chair of the United Russia faction in parliament's lower house, the State Duma, praised the performance of Russian law-enforcement agencies involved in the operation, saying that their next target should be fellow warlord Shamil Basayev. According to Klintsevich, Basayev is behind all recent terrorist acts in Russia, and he controls the situation in terrorist training camps and the flow of money to finance terror activities. The physical elimination of Basayev would help stabilize Chechnya, the MP argues.

    Gelayev's killing is a symbolic event, believes Nikolai Kovalev, former head of the Federal Security Service who now chairs the Duma Committee for War Veterans. "A whole galaxy of intractable warlords is becoming history. Of course, that's a serious achievement [on the part] of the special services," he said. Kovalev also stressed the importance of vigilance against a possible backlash. Like Klintsevich, he urged federal law-enforcers to go after Basayev, whom he described as a "symbol of international terrorism." "The liquidation of Gelayev is a natural process," said Mikhail Grishankov, second in charge of the Duma Security Committee. "It was no easy task, though," he added. Russia's special services should use all their capabilities to destroy other major Chechen warlords, such as Basayev, emphasized Grishankov. He also highlighted the necessity of disrupting the flow of money to finance Chechen rebels' terrorist activity.

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