In Dagestan on Chechnya’s border seven Russian servicemen were killed and three wounded when a remote-controlled bomb destroyed their truck. Chechen rebels said “the Dagestani patriots are opening a second front.” A few days later, the deputy mayor of Makhachkala, Dagestan’s capital, was murdered with his wife in a crime that may be connected to mayoral elections set for next month…. A Russian Mi-8 helicopter crashed in Chechnya, killing a deputy minister of the interior, an army major general, three army colonels, and nine others. Chechen rebels claim they shot the aircraft down with a Russian-made missile…. Iraq’s Prime Minister Tariq Aziz spent three days in Moscow last week but failed to gain an audience with Putin. Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov marked the visit by calling for an end to UN sanctions…. The Ministry of Press Affairs couldn’t wait for a court-ordered liquidation of independent broadcaster TV-6. It used administrative authority to cut the network’s signal and take it off the air. Former ambassador to the United States Vladimir Lukin said “I have a feeling of constant, dull shame for my country.” Human rights activist Sergei Kovalev said Putin’s “managed democracy” is only possible with “a managed press and a managed judiciary”…. In North Ossetia, the Kremlin-backed incumbent won a second term as president when the local election commission disqualified his main challenger for filing a faulty financial-disclosure statement.