Excerpt:

Several businesses in Russia's Chechnya region were ordered this week to cover up the bare heads of women in their advertisements, in what a local government source said was the latest assertion of Muslim customs by the authorities.

A decade after Moscow drove separatists out of power in the second of two wars since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, the Kremlin relies heavily on Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov to keep insurgents in check and maintain a shaky peace.

But analysts and rights groups say that in return, the devout Sufi Muslim is allowed to enforce his vision of Islam, at times curbing women's rights and other civil freedoms guaranteed by Russia's constitution.


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