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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chechen Warlord Named Premier

Shamyl Basayev, the Chechen warlord who humiliated the Russian army by kidnapping an entire village in Southern Russia during the Chechen war of independence, has become the de facto prime minister of the breakaway republic, Interfax reported Monday.

President Aslan Maskhadov, who has been both president and prime minister since his election in January, gave the post of Cabinet leader to Basayev.

"Basayev will be in charge of Cabinet meetings, will direct the ministers, and will be in charge of agriculture, and the economy," the government's Secretary General Zyavdi Aybuev was quoted as saying. Maskhadov is still head of the armed forces and of the Chechen central bank. He remains in charge of the country's budget, the report said.

Basayev organized the 1995 hostage-taking of over 1,000 people in the southern Russian town of Budennovsk, and has since been regarded as Moscow's arch-enemy.