For the third consecutive day yesterday, thousands of Chechens (Moscow-installed authorities said "more than 10,000") demonstrated in central Grozny for independence and the withdrawal of Russian troops. The participants also demonstrated in favor of Dzhokhar Dudayev, carrying his portraits and national Chechen flags. Demonstrators hung portraits and flags on the ruins of the presidential palace, destroyed in the Russian bombardment one year ago. Russian armor stopped Chechen crowds arriving from the countryside to join the demonstration and Russian commander in chief Lt. General Vyacheslav Tikhomirov warned that his troops would "resolutely shoot to kill" if necessary to "stop provocations."
Russian helicopters dropped 6,000 leaflets over central Grozny signed by Tikhomirov, asserting that the pro-independence movement had "degenerated into a gang of bandits killing and raping their own people" while his own troops were "protecting the Chechen people’s lives, property, and right to decide their own destiny." In a televised statement, Tikhomirov blamed the surge of the Chechen pro-independence movement on the campaign initiated by Nizhny Novgorod governor Boris Nemtsov in Russia in favor of the withdrawal of troops from Chechnya. (6)
Germany Expects Russian Reform to Continue.