On the role of Cchechnya in the international life of Russia

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Moscow took an important step in raising the authority of Chechnya in Russia and on the international arena. Two platoons of battalions East and West of the 42nd guards mechanized infantry division were sent to Lebanon as guard units for the Russian combat engineers battalion. These units are fully manned with Chechens. The fact of sending Chechen servicemen to Lebanon is a bold and extraordinary decision of Russian authorities. This is not a secret that many problems of security provision are not solved in Chechnya yet. Servicemen of battalions West and East play an important role there. They fulfill responsible tasks for destruction of remaining militants in the mountainous terrain and that is why every soldier in the battalions is important. However, the Defense Ministry decided to send the Chechens to Lebanon. Fifty-three soldiers who guard combat engineers in Lebanon now represent a big force according to Chechen standards. However, the Defense Ministry had to sacrifice them. In Lebanon populated mostly by Moslems, our Orthodox Christian engineers will be under reliable protection. President of Chechnya Alu Alkhanov is convinced of this. Recently, he released a special statement saying that servicemen from battalions East and West would provide security of Russian military bridge builders in Lebanon reliably.

Alkhanov added, “These battalions include servicemen having rich experience of service in difficult conditions.” According to the President of Chechnya, “Both battalions are manned with young people who have proven their ability to find their bearings in very difficult situations, to make quick decisions and to implement them.”

Alkhanov also said, “These battalions were formed in the initial stage of the antiterrorist operation in the Chechen Republic. They fulfilled difficult tasks for combating terrorists and there was not a single case where some of them shook, retreated and showed faintheartedness.” Alkhanov points out that both battalions are commanded by heroes of the Russian Federation, officers Sulim Yamadaev and Saidmagomed Kakiev.

Alkhanov stated, “Besides, it is very important that all these guys observe requirements of the religion stringently and this will have a certain importance in the country of presence.”

The Chechen servicemen sent to Lebanon demonstrate their readiness to fulfill the tasks set for them too. Senior Lieutenant Ibragim Bekkhanov, commander of the guard platoon who arrived in the Middle East, announced this. According to Bekkhanov, his subordinates will provide for security of servicemen of the battalion of the Russian Defense Ministry in the field camp and during the work on restoration of bridges. Warrant officer Rasul Bekmurzaev, commander of another platoon, says that his soldiers are proud with the manifested confidence in them. Bekmurzaev says that his subordinates are establishing interaction with servicemen of the Lebanese army deployed nearby but it is difficult to overcome the language barrier yet. He adds that the Moslem servicemen from Chechnya have a possibility to observe the necessary religious rites.

Thus, use of Chechens in regulation of the international conflict in Lebanon should demonstrate unity of Moscow and Grozny in solving international problems. This is evidence showing that separatism is finished in the republic and from now on Russia and Chechnya act as one front.

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