Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 215

Chechen deputy premier Movladi Udugov and an aide to Chechen president Zelimkhan Yandarbiev, Akhmed Zakaev, arrive in Moscow today to begin laying the groundwork for a planned meeting between Russian prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and Chechen prime minister Aslan Maskhadov. (NTV, November 14) Sources close to Maskhadov say the Chechen side will not sign the political agreement that Russian Security Council secretary Ivan Rybkin announced earlier in the week. (See Monitor, November 14) The Chechen leadership thinks the document should be exclusively economic. Moreover, the Chechen side intends to demand the withdrawal of Russia’s 205th and 101st brigades, which Moscow wants to keep permanently stationed in Chechnya. The fate of the negotiations now hangs on the Russian government’s readiness to withdraw these troops. Maskhadov’s opinion on this issue is unknown; he has recently cut off all contact with the press. (NTV, November 14)

The Chechen side has repeatedly said that it considers the main question on the agenda to be the payment of monetary compensation for the damage done to the republic during the war. Since the situation on the ground in Chechnya today is controlled by Chechen resistance fighters, and it is unrealistic to expect Russian troops to intervene again, the hope of receiving compensation from Moscow seems to be the main, if not the only, incentive for Grozny to continue negotiations with Moscow.

All the factions in the Duma, with the exception of Yabloko, have come out against the Khasavyurt accords, and there can be no doubt that Grozny’s new demands will elicit a negative reaction from the Russian political establishment. "Even if Ivan Rybkin had wanted to comply with the separatists’ demands, it would have been hard for him to do so in the present political situation… The negotiations between the Security Council secretary and Movladi Udugov and Akhmed Zakaev will not be easy!" Arkady Volsky told Monitor. Volsky, a leading Russian industrialist, served on the Russian delegation to the negotiations with the Chechen resistance in the summer of 1995.

Use of Barter and Surrogate Money Increasing in Russia.