Meanwhile, Chechen opposition leaders pressed ahead with the construction of new state institutions. They announced that presidential and parliamentary elections will be held on January 27, and that, until then, Aslan Maskhadov will act as prime minister and defense minister. They stressed that international observers, "Russians included," will be welcome to monitor the elections. (Itar-Tass, October 18) Moscow is far from happy that it was not consulted over the election date, but does not know what to do to prevent it. In addition, an anonymous Russian government official told Interfax that Moscow was much relieved that Maskhadov has been appointed prime minister, seeing him as a reasonable man with whom Moscow "has done and can do business." (Interfax, October 20)
Rutskoi Wins in Kursk.