General Valery Manilov, first deputy head of the Russian armed forces’ general staff, said yesterday that the Chechen rebel forces became significantly more active this past week. Sixty-three shooting incidents. Twenty-five Russian servicemen killed. Seventy-four wounded. Manilov said he thought that the increase in the rebel’s activity was connected to the G-7 summit in Okinawa. Indeed, as the week came to a close, Chechen rebel units attacked the Russian military headquarters and regional Interior Ministry department in Nozhai-Yurt, on Chechnya’s border with Dagestan. According to official Russian sources, the attacks were successfully fought off, and there were dead and wounded among the attackers. Meanwhile, a large bomb was discovered 200 meters from the building of the Chechen provisional administration in Gudermes. At least six police officers and internal forces troops were killed and eleven injured as a result of Chechen rebel attacks in Argun, Chiri-Yurt, Dzhalka and Gehki. At least 8 civilians were killed July 18 when Russian artillery shelled the Chechen village of Tsatsan-Yurt (Russian agencies, Radio Liberty, July 20). Russian military intelligence was quoted as saying that more than 1,000 well-armed rebel fighters were now located in the Chechen lowlands and that some 1,500 persons in the 14-50 age range were ready to join them. An anonymous official was quoted as saying that this situation created “the direct threat” of attacks on federal military units. The Russian military is reportedly expecting rebel attacks in the Chechen capital, Gudermes, Argun, Shali, Urus-Martan and Krychaloe, with military and administrative installations as targets (Russian agencies, July 21). The Interior Ministry, meanwhile, claimed yesterday that it, together with the Federal Security Service (FSB), had thwarted a series of attacks planned by Chechen-trained terrorists against targets in a number of Russian cities, including Moscow’s Kursky railway station (Russian agencies, July 20). It is interesting to note that Russian military officials seem to have dropped their earlier obligatory comments about the “antiterrorist” operation in Chechnya being all-but completed.
Meanwhile, the conflict between Chechen administration head Akhmad Kadyrov and his first deputy Bislan Gantemirov remained unresolved (see the Monitor, July 20). On July 20, Viktor Kazantsev, who represents President Vladimir Putin in the newly created Southern federal district, presided over a meeting between Gantemirov and Kadyrov. Meanwhile, the Chechen rebel website Kavkaz.org claimed that Kadyrov will soon be killed–that he was on the hit list of both Gantemirov’s people and other Chechen groups loyal to Moscow, whose leaders want to take Kadyrov’s place. Amusingly, Kavkaz.org claims that Kadyrov is not a “Pure” Chechen, that he has Mountain Jews among his ancestors (Russian agencies, July 20). The distinction between “pure” and “impure” Chechens became very popular among the advocates of Chechen independence immediately after Dzhokhar Dudaev came to power. Practically all of Dudaev’s opponents were denounced as not having “pure” Chechen roots. They charged, for example, that Ruslan Khasbulatov, the former head of the Russian Supreme Soviet, was in fact of Avar descent. More recently, distinctly anti-Semitic themes have entered into the propaganda of the Chechen resistance movement. For example, on the videocassette “Jihad-3” distributed by the rebels, Movlai Udugov, their main ideologist, described the incursion by Chechen-led units into neighboring Dagestan last August and part of the “struggle against international Zionism.” Udugov described the ultimate goal of the Dagestan campaign as “the liberation of Jerusalem.”
MOSCOW BACKPEDALS ON RUSSIAN TROOP WITHDRAWAL.