It won't have escaped the notice of anyone who reads this blog that my attention has been focused for the past couple of weeks on one issue alone: Chechnya. The siege of Beslan and its aftermath have given rise to events so potentially momentous both for Russia and for the rest of the world that it has seemed wrong to concentrate on anything else much.
And the recent comment of independent lawmaker Vladimir Ryzhkov, reported by several agencies, that
"I don't understand how one can use the blood of Beslan's victims to resolve political tasks, to protect one's political interests and strengthen one's power"
is food for sustained and not very comfortable thought.
It seems clear that Putin and his government are involved in what is turning out to be some very murky shadow-play indeed, and we in the West would do well to keep a watchful eye on what transpires within the framework of Russian Federation politics in the near future.