Federal forces in Chechnya have been stepping up security measures in the republic in connection with the upcoming anniversary of Stalin’s deportation of Chechens to Central Asia and Kazakhstan on February 23, 1944. It has already become a tradition, dating back to the 1994-1996 Chechen war, for the rebels to carry out revenge raids commemorating the deportation. Therefore, as of yesterday, February 21, the movement of transportation along the republic’s highways has been limited and additional security forces have been posted at checkpoints around the republic. Djohar [Grozny] has been closed to any incoming or outgoing transportation. The restrictions have been applied in Urus-Martan, from which only those who have received special permission from local law enforcement are allowed to leave. Likewise, entry into Gudermes will be closed to all vehicles except those belonging to police or regional administration officials, while the town of Shali will be closed off completely until February 24.
Since the beginning of February, the rebels have been distributing leaflets warning of military actions in certain locales. On February 21, Akhmad Kadyrov, head of the pro-Moscow Chechen administration, appeared on television and confirmed that the rebels may attempt to seize Gudermes, Kurchala and the village of Tsentora, but said he hoped they would not be able to carry out their plans. Kadyrov also warned that the republic’s administration would not allow any demonstrations or other similar actions to take place on February 23 (Russian agencies, February 21).
THREE NONARGUMENTS AGAINST NATO’S BALTIC ENLARGEMENT. NATO’