Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 161

Kirienko has threatened that Russia may build a pipeline through Dagestan, skirting Chechen territory, if Moscow does not each an agreement with Djohar-gala. (Russian agencies, September 1) In the past, Moscow has denied having any such intentions. However, the newspaper Segodnya reports that Russia is now actively considering raising with Baku the possibility of postponing the date of oil transit in order to allow Moscow enough time to construct a pipeline bypassing Chechnya. Building that pipeline would cost approximately $200 million and take up to 18 months. Russia is also thinking of putting pressure on Chechnya by linking the oil transit agreement to the signing of customs and banking agreements between Djohar-gala and Moscow. At the same time, Kirienko has hinted that Moscow might build a second pipeline even if talks with Djohar-gala turn out favorably. "Of course, the Chechen route is the most economical, but the Caspian oil reserves are so large that it can hardly be the only one," Kirienko is quoted as saying. (Segodnya, September 1)

Border Troops Chief Outlines Reform Plans.