Chechnya’s Supreme Sharia Court has postponed carrying out its sentence against field commander Salman Raduev until he undergoes a medical examination (Nezavisimaya gazeta, November 27). The court last month sentenced Raduev to four years’ imprisonment for an attempt by his forces last May to seize the government’s television center, which resulted in a shootout, along with deaths and injuries. In mid-November, the Chechen authorities made an unsuccessful attempt to arrest Raduev immediately after he openly held a press conference in the capital, Djohar, in which he announced that he had no intention of hiding and would resist with the force of arms any attempt to arrest him (see the Monitor, November 17).
Raduev is one of the most dangerous opponents of Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov, and it is obvious that the sentence handed down by the Supreme Sharia Court and the attempt to arrest Raduev had Maskhadov’s blessings. Maskhadov must have known that the attempt to arrest Raduev could have led to civil war, given that Raduev would have been defended not only by his private army, the so-called Army of General Dudaev, but also the armed formations led by the influential field commander and former Chechen premier, Shamil Basaev. However, by starting a campaign against Raduev and then suddenly backtracking, the Chechen authorities have put themselves in a very awkward spot: They have demonstrated to the whole world that they do not, in reality, control the situation in the republic.
UKRAINE ATHWART RUSSIAN AGENDA AT OSCE.