Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 76

Chechnya is trying to forge informal ties with the international community. Chechen envoy Ruslan Kutaev arrived in Moscow yesterday on the first leg of a tour that will take him to Ukraine, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Switzerland, Belgium, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Malaysia, and Indonesia. (Interfax, April 16)

Kutaev says he will not raise the question of Chechen independence during these visits. The Russian Foreign Ministry has already made it clear that Russia will immediately break off diplomatic relations with any country that recognizes Chechnya as an independent state, and Djohar-gala understands that no country is likely to run that kind of risk at present. For this reason, no leader of any country accepted the invitation to attend President Aslan Maskhadov’s inauguration in February. However, Djohar-gala has strong links with countries such as Turkey, Jordan, and Syria, where there are large and influential Chechen diasporas. It also has ties with the Baltic countries and with Poland, where, during the war, a Cultural Center of Chechnya-Ichkeria was set up which performs some of the functions of an embassy. These countries will probably recognize Chechnya’s independence as soon as Moscow does. Kutaev says he is sure that "sooner or later, Russia will be the first country to recognize Chechnya’s independence." (Interfax, April 16)

Russian Defense Chief in China.