Chechen First Deputy Premier Shamil Basaev hopes that Chechnya and Dagestan will soon unite into a single state. He stressed that unification should take place through political, not military, means. According to Basaev, the new state would be able to defend itself more effectively against the Kremlin’s provocative actions, designed to set the peoples of the North Caucasus against each other. (Kommersant-daily, May 12)
Movladi Udugov was the first Chechen official to advocate uniting Chechnya and Dagestan. At the time he first issued the call, he was Chechnya’s deputy premier. Now he is its foreign minister. Udugov set up the “Islamic Nation” movement–which included both Dagestani and Chechen political parties and had as its declared aim “the restoration of Dagestan to its historical borders” as they existed during the Imamate of Shamil in the nineteenth century. Last month, the idea received new impetus. On April 26, on Udugov’s initiative, a “Congress of the Peoples of Chechnya and Dagestan” was held in the Chechen capital Djohar. The delegates decided to make the congress a permanent body and elected Shamil Basaev as its chairman. The new organization declared its intention of working for the unification of Chechnya and Dagestan into a single state. (Kommersant-daily, April 28)
CHECHEN PROSECUTOR GENERAL THINKS VLASOV’S KIDNAPPERS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ATTEMPT ON HIS LIFE.