Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 57

Yeltsin’s decision to dismiss the Russian government has been assessed in contradictory ways within the Chechen leadership. Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov thinks it was a positive step. "The government led by Viktor Chernomyrdin was an obstacle to improving relations between Chechnya and Russia," he said. But from Acting Prime Minister Shamil Basaev’s perspective, "The dismissal of the Russian government cannot have any influence on relations between Moscow and Grozny." Basaev said Chechnya considers Russia a foreign country and "everything that takes place there is that country’s internal affair." Unlike Maskhadov, Basaev spoke well of Chernomyrdin, with whom he negotiated in the wake of the raid on Budennovsk in 1995. However, both Basaev and Maskhadov were enthusiastic about the dismissal of Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Anatoly Kulikov, whom Chechnya has always seen as a leading member of the "party of war." (NTV, March 23)