Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 2 Issue: 25

As the summer of 2001 began, there was accumulating evidence that the Chechen separatists were attempting to seize the initiative in the twenty-one-month-long conflict, which has now lasted longer than the earlier 1994-1996 war. On June 21, the chairman of the Defense and Security Committee of the separatist parliament, Abubakar Magodmadov, affirmed: “Today we can say with confidence that the armed forces of the Chechen state have seized the military initiative and are dictating warfare conditions to the Russian occupation army. Mobile guerilla groups, which attack Russian soldiers and officers, are almost invulnerable…. If before the Russian authorities could rely on their agents and collaborators, the situation is now radically different. Following several verbal and written warnings that it is inadmissible to cooperate with the Russian invaders, Chechen fighters started physically liquidating national traitors on the basis of martial law, depriving the Kremlin of its ‘fifth column.'” Magodmadov’s words appeared not to be posturing and bravado but rather a fairly accurate description of what was in fact taking place on the ground in Chechnya. Magodmadov also emphasized, that despite their successes, the separatists, led by President Maskhadov, remained “ready for a peaceful solution to the Russia-Chechnya military conflict without any preconditions” ( via BBC Monitoring, June 21).