Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 23

Fighting continued throughout Chechnya May 31, but Moscow media strove to put an upbeat face on developments there. Krasnaya zvezda said on May 31 that the situation in Chechnya had normalized to such an extent that a normal spring military draft would now take place there. Russian officials said that Grozny was quickly being rebuilt, although pictorial evidence suggests otherwise. And Russian economics officials said that the oil and gas industry of the republic would soon be operational again. But the war is far from over. The Russian government told the Duma May 30 that Chechen leader Dzhokhar Dudayev still has 8,000 fighters, Rossiiskie vesti reported May 31. And Russian television reported that Dudayev’s commanders were urging him to take the war to Russia itself, Moscow television reported May 30. Meanwhile, human rights activist Sergei Kovalev said that in addition to the notorious filtration camps at Mozdok, Grozny, Pyatigorsk and Stavropol, there were hitherto unreported “field concentration points,” where Chechens were kept in ditches and beaten, Moscow television reported May 30. Kovalev said he would send a report on this to the United Nations.

And again there was no hard news on the fate of Fred Cuny, the American aid expert who has been missing in Chechnya since April 9. Cuny’s son told journalists that the family had lost all confidence in both the Russian and the Chechen sides.

Earthquake’s Political Aftershocks.