Boris Yeltsin’s July 4 decree onpermanent Russian military basing in Chechnya sparked outrageamong both Moscow’s negotiating team and the Chechens. Russiannegotiator Arkady Volsky said that he and his team would not goback to Grozny unless the decree were withdrawn. Chechen talkschief Usman Imayev said that the decree put the talks, which resumedJuly 6 in a gloomy atmosphere, but now with a Yeltsin representative,in jeopardy. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin supported Volsky,and Yeltsin’s office announced July 5 that the president wouldrescind or modify the decree. But the damage was done. Many Russianreformers joined Chechens in seeing this presidential decree asa reflection of the growing power of defense minister Gracheveven though other power ministers had been sacked. Grachev remainsunhappy with both the talks and the Chechen attacks during thecease-fire. More ominously, a number of Chechen officials beganto say openly that they believed the talks were a put up job.Grozny mayor Beslan Gantemirov told Segodnya July 5 that"Russia is seeking agreement not with Chechnya but with itsown special services, of which Usman Imayev is an agent."Gantemirov also suggested that President Dzhokhar Dudayev enjoysties to some officials in Moscow, the only explanation for hiscontinued survival. In such a situation, neither Moscow nor Dudayevmay be able to prevent more disasters. And again on July 5, therewas no word on the fate of Fred Cuny, the American aid workerwho has been missing in the region since April 9.
Moscow Moves to Stabilize Ruble Exchange Rate.