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Talal, Prince Hassan bin

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Sme - Slovakia | 02/03/2006

Putin's new strategy in Eastern Europe

In connection with Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Prague, the former Czech president Vaclav Havel and eight intellectuals have sharply criticised the Kremlin's Chechnya policies. In their open letter which, after first appearing in Czech newspapers is now reprinted in the Slovakian paper, the critics talk of a "return to autocracy". They accuse Russia of using the fight against terrorism as an excuse to suppress the independence which came following the collapse of the Soviet Union", and liken the fighting in Chechnya to the Nazi's destruction of Warsaw. They also say that it is "unacceptable" that the Chechnya problem has been struck from the agenda for the G8 Summit in June in Russia. The letter, which was also signed by former South African president Frederik de Klerk and French philosopher Andre Glucksmann, says: "We are not shutting our eyes to Russia's conduct."

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