Zaur Dadayev, charged with involvement in the murder of Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov, looks out from a defendants' cage inside a court building in Moscow, March 8, 2015. REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva
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Chechnya's strongman on Tuesday reaffirmed an unwavering loyalty to President Vladimir Putin after receiving a medal seen by some as a move to assuage the feisty Chechen leader after one of his officers was arrested as a suspect in the slaying of a Russian opposition figure.Some observers say the arrest of five suspects accused of involvement in the Feb. 27 slaying of Putin's prominent critic, Boris Nemtsov, could strain Kremlin's relations with Kadyrov, who has run Chechnya like his own fiefdom while relying on federal subsidies.One of the suspects, Zaur Dadaev, was a senior officer in Chechnya's police force. Malashenko said he didn't believe that Nemtsov was targeted for his comments related to Charlie Hebdo because he was far less outspoken than others.His view was shared by many other observers, who have remained skeptical about the official version, saying that while Nemtsov criticized the Charlie Hebdo attackers, he made no comments against Islam. Many continued to insist that his killing just outside the Kremlin was likely rooted in his criticism of Putin.
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