Russian general Vladimir Samanov, known as one of the toughest military commanders will take over the lead of the peace keeping troops in Abkhazia, the second separatist republic of Georgia. This strategic move, announced by ITAR-TASS agency is a symbolic one, experts declare.

Russian peace keeping troops amount to 9,000 military personnel and over 300 armed technical units. Up to November 2007 Samanov was a Defense ministry counselor. He was accused by the Human Rights Watch organization of massacre in Chechnya while he commanded a military campaign there.