Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 222

Although the last two major Russian military units will be withdrawn from Chechnya before the elections scheduled for the end of January, a sizable Russian armed presence will apparently remain in the republic. Ivan Rybkin, the secretary of the Security Council, told a Moscow press conference yesterday that the departing 101st Brigade of Interior Troops and the Defense Ministry’s 205th Brigade had a total complement of between 8,000 and 10,000 men while the total Russian contingent in Chechnya totaled some 20,000.

Rybkin emphasized that Chechen authorities would have to approve this continuing military presence and suggested that they were unlikely to object if individual units of Ministry for Emergency Situations, Railway Troops, field-engineering, and medical units stayed in Chechnya. Some Border Troops will also remain to patrol the Russian-Georgian border along with Chechen units.

Sources in the General Staff indicated that the military’s 205th Brigade would be redeployed to the city of Budyonnovsk in the Stavropol region, while the brigade’s 204th motorized rifle regiment would be stationed in the city of Buinaksk in Dagestan, adjacent to Chechnya. As for the withdrawal from Chechnya itself, Rybkin indicated that Defense Minister Igor Rodionov had approved the plan but that Interior Minister Anatoly Kulikov "had a different opinion on this question…." (Interfax, 25 November)

More Mixed Signals from Moscow on NATO?