Interior Minister Sergei Stepashin, on a visit to Dagestan in the Russian Caucasus, said “some of the leads” in recent kidnappings in neighboring Chechnya “point to Moscow.” In a rare official expression of tolerance, Stepashin said “90 percent of the Chechens are normal people.” Interior Ministry troops, he said, would cooperate with forces controlled by Chechnya’s President Aslan Maskhadov in an effort to bring order to the region. … President Maskhadov’s acting prime minister, Shamil Basaev, resigned from the government, perhaps to devote himself more completely to the Congress of Chechnya and Dagestan, a movement he founded to unify the two republics and secure their complete autonomy from the Russian Federation.