Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 214

While President Boris Yeltsin was preparing for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (0SCE) summit in Istanbul and insisting that he would not bow to Western pressure over Chechnya, Boris Berezovsky, the tycoon and Kremlin insider, came out with his own seven-point peace plan for Chechnya. The plan, in fact, differs little from what Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and other officials have been calling for–that Chechnya remain part of the Russian Federation, that a “final settlement” to the political problems there can only be solved by “political means,” and that the Chechen rebels should voluntary put down their arms. Berezovsky said that rebel commanders who refuse to disarm should leave Chechnya “for countries prepared to accept them” and that “terrorists” should be tried “in keeping with international law.” Berezovsky, who is running for a seat in the State Duma for a constituency in the North Caucasian republic of Karachaevo-Cherkessk, told residents there yesterday that “today the time has come for changing our priorities in settling the situation in Chechnya” and that priority should be given to “political methods of solving the problem” (Russian agencies, November 16).

Berezovsky’s seven-point peace plan for Chechnya, while somewhat vague, may have two purposes. The first and more obvious is to win over constituents in Karachaevo-Cherkessk, who are likely to be more favorably inclined to a political solution than a military one. The second and more strategic is to try to undermine Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Some observers continue to insist that Berezovsky and other members of the Kremlin inner circle fear that Putin’s rising popularity is a threat to their own interests and would like to replace him (see the Monitor, November 16). Yulia Latynina, a correspondent for the newspaper Segodnya and a columnist for the Moscow Times, cited sources in Fatherland-All Russia, the anti-Kremlin coalition headed by Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov and former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, that Putin will likely be fired in December or January, and that Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo is Putin’s most likely successor (Moscow Times, November 17). Rushailo is rumored to be a close Berezovsky ally.