The Moscow Times reports that in a number of Chechen villages, inhabitants accuse Russian forces of extorting bribes under threat of bombardment. One village reportedly paid “a top Russian military official” the equivalent of more than $5,000 and a big-screen TV to escape shelling and looting…. Vladimir Putin appealed to a visiting delegation from the Council of Europe “to show an understanding of our position, by relying on facts … from truthful information, not propaganda.”