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Putin Visits a 'Horrible'-Looking Grozny

In a rare visit to a war zone that has become Russia’s quagmire, President Vladimir V. Putin made a quick trip on Tuesday to Chechnya, and said its bombed and battered capital, Grozny, looked “horrible.” His visit, two days after the assassination of his hand-picked president for the region, Akhmad Kadyrov, was an acknowledgment that the conflict from which he has tried to distance himself remained a critical problem for the Kremlin.After decreasing Russia’s security forces in Chechnya over the last several months and trying to transform the decade-long separatist war into a local conflict, Mr. Putin announced a plan on Tuesday to bolster the local police force by at least 1,000 officers. He said he would send a high-level team to look at the region’s underlying social and economic problems. Mr. Kadyrov’s stage-managed election in October was an attempt by the Kremlin to show that things were returning to normal after years of warfare that had left Grozny in ruins.Full Story

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