Chechen leader calls on brides to say no to low-cut gowns

MOSCOW, Nov 14, 2007 (AFP) - Chechnya's pro-Russian president on Wednesday, November 14th, called on future brides to forgo buying low-cut wedding gowns and choose more modest wear instead, a report said.

"The sale and rental of very low-cut wedding gowns has to be stopped," Ramzan Kadyrov said, according to Ria-Novosti news agency.

Wedding gown sellers should favour the sale of "national wedding gowns", he said.

"Fiancees are a symbol of modesty, and recently it has become popular to wear very low-cut gowns," said Kadyrov.

"If this continues, we will soon forget all our national traditions."

Kadyrov has cultivate an image of someone attached to traditional values.

Some credit him with overseeing massive post-war reconstruction projects in the North Caucasus republic.

But human rights campaigners have criticised him for the kidnappings and torture allegedly carried out by Chechnya's security forces.

Moscow has fought two full-blown wars with Chechen separatists in the post-Soviet era -- a 1994-96 war in which Russian forces suffered a humiliating defeat and a second war that began in 1999 and continues in the form of low-level skirmishes.

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