Chechens go to polls despite quake aftermath
Chechens went to the polls Sunday in proceeding with local parliament elections despite Saturday's heavy earthquake which killed at least 12 persons and injured more than 100 others, dpa reported.
Pro-Kremlin Chechen President Ramsan Kadyrov, showing up at the polling station in his home village of Zentoroy said people were ready to vote despite the quake, and he predicted a 100 per cent turnout of voters.
The elections come amid charges by human rights organisations that opposition groups' chances in Chechenya as well as in elections in four further Russian regions continued to be restricted.
According to the non-governmental organisation Golos (voice), additional hurdles were set up to obstruct the registration of opposition parties in the region.
Analysts spoke of "imitation elections" in Sunday's voting, amid clear expectations that the Unified Russia, headed by former President Vladimir Putin, would clearly lead.
In Saturday's quake striking the North Caucasus region, authorities said the quake had a magnitude of 5.3 on the Richter scale.
The officials said at least 500 buildings in the Chechen capital Grozny and other cities were damaged, Interfax reported.
A hospital in the city of Shali was also partially destroyed.
The quake came a little less than a week after a stronger earthquake in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan, near the Chinese and Tajik borders, claimed 70 lives.