Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 2

On January 10, the Moscow Times reported that Ingushetia’s parliament had announced that the republic is to hold a new presidential election on April 7 of this year. The election had previously been scheduled for March of 2003 but had been moved up following Ingush President Ruslan Aushev’s sudden resignation from his post on December 28. Writing in the no. 2 (January 10) issue of Obshchaya Gazeta, journalist Bakhtiyar Akhmedkhanov reported that, during his September 2001 visit to the North Caucasus region, President Putin had demanded in the course of a private meeting with Aushev that he step down from his position before the end of the year. There is, Akhmedkhanov added, an important Chechen dimension to Aushev’s forced resignation. “One can suppose,” the reporter commented, “that the removal of Ruslan Aushev had among other aims the goal of depriving the separatists of a rear base, which is what Ingushetia represented. In one of his interviews, Ruslan Aushev had denied statements by the [Russian] military that Aslan Maskhadov was located in Ingushetia. But he had then added that if Maskhadov were in fact to appear there, he would be regarded as a legitimate figure.”