Chechnya’s Prime Minister Sergei Abramov is in hospital after suffering serious injuries in a car crash in Moscow. He is said to be in a stable condition in intensive care.
Abramov was the target of a failed assassination attempt in the Chechen capital Grozny in July 2004. It happened a few months after he was appointed premier of the troubled region in the northern Caucasus.
The authorities have ruled out the possibility that the car crash was anything other than an accident. Ramzan Kadyrov will be acting prime minister. He is Abramov’s deputy but is already Chechnya’s de facto leader.
Kadyrov commands irregular troops that form part of Moscow’s anti-separatist force in Chechnya, where separatist rebels have been fighting federal forces for over a decade.
Human rights groups regularly denounce the kidnapping and murder of civilians.
As part of Moscow’s plan to “normalise” the region, elections to Chechnya’s parliament are planned for November 27. A previous referendum on autonomy failed to stop the guerrilla war.