Russian president Boris Yeltsin has decreed the formation of a special commission in Chechnya, empowered to grant amnesty on a case-by-case basis to fighters who hand in their arms to the authorities and apply for leniency. To be chaired by Chechnya’s "head" Doku Zavgayev, the commission is to consist of representatives of Russia’s Defense and Internal Affairs ministries, Federal Security Service, and Prosecutor General’s Office, and to be supervised by Russian Security Council secretary and presidential envoy in Chechnya, Oleg Lobov. Lobov and Zavgayev have announced in Grozny that almost all Chechen fighters, except for 180 to 200 "criminally indicted" individuals, are eligible for the amnesty. Zavgayev indicated that Chechen president Dzhokhar Dudayev and his military commanders are eligible as well. Timed to the first anniversary of the Russian military invasion, the measure indirectly acknowledges Moscow’s failure to subdue Chechnya by force and also represents a part of the price Moscow is willing to pay in order to stage elections in Chechnya. But the formula and conditions of the offer are unlikely to prove attractive to Chechen fighters or to buy tranquillity during the electoral period.
The resistance has in recent days abducted several Chechen collaborationist officials, including Zavgayev’s education minister, from presumably Russian-controlled areas, including central Grozny. (8)
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