Seven Russian servicemen died last week in firefights at checkpoints on Chechnya’s border, and three Russian officers were reported kidnapped and taken into Chechnya over the weekend. Moscow mayor and presidential hopeful Yuri Luzhkov said that he shares the view of the author of the “Gulag Archipelago,” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who wants Chechnya declared independent and its borders with Russia sealed. Cossacks on the Chechen border claim that Luzhkov has promised them five million rubles ($200,000) to build a self-defense force, though the mayor’s office denies this.