Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov has signed a decree demoting Salman Raduev from the rank of brigadier general to that of private. Maskhadov also took away Raduev’s six-man personal bodyguard, which was given to him for the raid on the Dagestani town of Pervomaiskoe in February 1996. “If a person is sentenced to prison, any government would take away his military rank,” commented Mairbek Vachagaev, Maskhadov’s press secretary (Kommersant daily, November 11).
Maskhadov’s decree is nothing more than a political move. In fact, Raduev doesn’t have a six-man bodyguard unit, but controls an entire armed formation–the so-called “Army of General Dudaev.” He calls himself the commander in chief of this army, and is unlikely to pay much attention to what Maskhadov calls him. The All-National Congress of the Chechen People, which was reanimated by the field commanders who oppose Maskhadov, and is headed by Raduev, has temporarily ceased its activities to await the decision of its own rival Sharia Court on whether Maskhadov has violated Chechnya’s constitution while serving as Chechen president. After the court process is finished, the congress plans to pass a resolution. Depending on the findings of the rival Sharia court and the congress, Raduev, as “Kommersant daily” noted, may soon be given the possibility to reduce Maskhadov’s rank from general to private.
UKRAINE SEEKS OIL DEAL WITH KAZAKHSTAN TO BYPASS RUSSIA.