Russian aviation, artillery, and ground forces attacked what the military command termed "a dozen villages" in western and eastern Chechnya with full force over the weekend, as part of the "special operations" authorized by president Boris Yeltsin’s April 1 decree on settling the conflict.
Separately, Yeltsin and his advisor Emil Pain said that they had prepared lists of potential mediators by categories (from the Russian Federation, the "near" and "far abroad," diplomats, clergy, cultural figures, etc.) who may be called in as circumstances warrant. The remarks underscored the public relations character of the mediation offer contained in Yeltsin’s decree.
Capping a week of incessant military attacks on Chechen settlements, Yeltsin claimed to a presidential campaign meeting that such attacks had ceased as per his initiative; invited other branches of government to "verify" this; and said that he had "confirmed" in a message to Chechen leader Djohar Dudaev the alleged cessation of the Russian offensive. The denial of reality recalled Yeltsin’s earlier, staunch denials that his airforce was bombing Grozny while the bombing was underway. In such situations, Western theorizing about the degradation of the information flow to the president and the unraveling of decision-making processes in Moscow has helped to obscure Yeltsin’s political and personal responsibility as commander in chief for the actions of his military. (Itar-Tass, Interfax, NTV, Western agencies, April 5-7)
Zyuganov Economic Advisor Advocates Return to Central Planning.