Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 114

Top Russian officials, including Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and leaders of the delegation to armistice talks, said over the weekend that the Kremlin was in constant contact with the Chechen insurgent leadership, and that the latter had decided to allow the June 16 elections to proceed in Chechnya without significant disruption. The decision was made June 14 at an enlarged meeting of the State Defense Committee — the highest authority of the resistance — with the participation of field commanders. Statements by Chechen acting president Zelimkhan Yandarbiev in recent days suggest that resistance leaders seek, through their restraint, to facilitate Boris Yeltsin’s reelection in hopes of reaching a political arrangement with him afterward.

The election to a Chechen "people’s assembly" held yesterday by the Moscow-installed authorities witnessed a modest turnout and met with a solid boycott in many parts of the republic, according to a number of Western and Russian news accounts. Turnout was modest in Grozny as well. The authorities kept the polls open for three days, June 14 through 16, instead of just June 16, in the hope of increasing the turnout. The types of fraud observed in the December 1995 election of Doku Zavgaev as "head of the republic" were reported again this time. The two Russian brigades designated as permanently stationed in Chechnya cast ballots for the People’s Assembly, and one of their commanders was elected a deputy to it. Its mandate will run for two years. The Chechen resistance leaders now pin their hopes on the post-election talks with the Kremlin. (Russian and Western agencies, June 15 and 16)

White House Warns Against Turn from Democracy…