Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 206

On November 2, three days after his appointment as Security Council deputy secretary, Boris Berezovsky traveled to the north Caucasus to meet for the first time with leaders of Chechnya’s transition government. The unannounced visit took journalists by surprise. Berezovsky arrived without an entourage — even without bodyguards — underlining his image as an atypical politician. The meeting was held in Nazran, in the residence of President Aushev of Ingushetia, and went on late into the night.

The goal of Berezovsky’s visit was to prepare for a meeting between Russian prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and Chechen premier Aslan Maskhadov. In an interview with NTV before the meeting, Berezovsky said the financing of Chechen reconstruction was the main item on his agenda, and would also dominate the discussions when Chernomyrdin travels to Chechnya. (NTV, November 3)

In Nazran, Berezovsky met with Chechen first deputy premier Movladi Udugov and presidential aide Akhmed Zakaev. While the Chechen side made clear that it saw the Nazran meeting as only a preliminary scouting out of a new partner, both sides appeared satisfied with one another. Towards evening on November 3, Berezovsky traveled to Grozny for talks with Maskhadov. These talks also focused on financing issues and preparations for Chernomyrdin’s visit. Maskhadov told a press conference afterwards that it is now important to turn to economic questions and that political questions could be examined in five years’ time — "with a clear head." Udugov expressed satisfaction that "the Russian side is finally beginning to understand whom it has to do business with," that is, it is no longer taking Chechnya’s nominal pro-Russian government seriously. (NTV, November 3)

Moscow Not Interested in Normalization with Estonia.