A powerful security official in Chechnya's Moscow-backed government celebrated the birth of his first son by giving residents of the war-shattered region a day off from work, an aide said Tuesday. Following the birth of First Deputy Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov's son, employees of the regional presidential administration were given the day off Tuesday and workers across Chechnya can stay home on Wednesday, Kadyrov's spokesman Said-Magomed Musayev said.
Kadyrov, 29, named the boy after his late father, Akhmad, the Chechen president who was assassinated in a bomb attack last year.
Kadyrov heads a security force that is widely feared and accused of abuses ranging from kidnappings to robberies, and also holds vast business interests in Chechnya's oil industry. He is sometimes flamboyant and has a higher profile than the region's current president, Alu Alkhanov.
Human rights activists have criticized him but President Vladimir Putin awarded him a top national honor last year and praised him in an August meeting shown on state television, telling him he had done much to restore Chechnya.
The region has been devastated by two wars in the past decade, and fighting persists pitting rebels against Russian troops, police and security forces such as Kadyrov's. There is also violence between members of rival security forces and police, the AP says.
Overnight Tuesday, assailants tossed a grenade into a police car near the capital Grozny, sending three police to the hospital, a regional Interior Ministry official said. One of two or three suspected attackers was detained and found to be holding a card identifying him as a member of a security force called Vostok, which is under the command of the Russian Defense Ministry.
Authorities were trying to identify the suspect and determine whether the ID was legitimate, an Interior Ministry official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to give his name.
Presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak, who was accredited for the press conference by Vladimir Putin from Dozhd (Rain) television channel, asked Putin about competition at the coming election
On December 14, President Putin holds his annual Q&A session with Russian and foreign journalists. This conference is considered to be the beginning of his presidential campaign