Putin by decree established direct presidential rule in Chechnya and named the region’s mufti, Akhmed Kadyrov, to head a provisional government. That leaves no role for elected President Aslan Maskhadov, despised as a traitor by the Kremlin and as an appeaser by the local warlords. Kadyrov, a Sufi Muslim, fought against Russia in the 1994-1996 war but came over to the federal side after fundamentalist (“Wahhabi”) volunteers from Arab countries began to proselytize the predominantly Sufi Chechen guerrillas. Kadyrov has a following in Chechnya but his loyalty to the Russian Federation is uncertain. His appointment as provisional leader is a bold and risky move for Putin, and of course for Kadyrov as well.