A Chechen parliamentary delegation, headed by Foreign Relations Commission chairman Ahiad Idigov, yesterday completed a visit to the Baltic states where it had hoped to mark the first steps toward international recognition of Chechen independence. In addition to its parliamentary mandate, the delegation was carrying letters to the Baltic presidents from Chechen president Aslan Maskhadov requesting assistance in gaining international recognition.
Estonia rejected the entry visa requests that the delegation submitted repeatedly from Vilnius and Riga. Lithuanian president Algirdas Brazauskas, who declined to receive the delegation, declared that "Russia has the say here because Chechnya is a Russian Federation subject." Parliament chairman Vytautas Landsbergis received the delegation but stated that the issue of recognition is premature; he promised assistance in gradually developing interparliamentary ties. Latvian parliament chairman Alfreds Cepanis almost certainly spoke for all senior Baltic officials in announcing that he declined to receive the Chechen delegation "in order not to damage relations with Russia."
The delegation was received only by a handful of sympathetic parliamentarians and by some Latvian medical officials who discussed possible treatment of wounded Chechen fighters and civilians in Latvian hospitals. The Chechens’ hopes for support were based on the tokens of Baltic sympathy for Chechen independence evidenced during the recent war and on Baltic recognition of Djohar Dudaev’s role as a Soviet general in sabotaging Moscow’s January 1991 crackdown in Estonia. (BNS, June 13-18)
Lukashenka Squeezes Handout from Chernomyrdin.