Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 135

At least 16 Russian soldiers were officially reported killed between November 13 and 15 in fighting in Chechnya. Yesterday Russian forces inflicted civilian casualties during a mop-up operation against resistance fighters in parts of Grozny, and in the shelling of villages in contested parts of the countryside.

Russian commander in chief, Lt. General Anatoly Shkirko, warned yesterday that he might renew aviation strikes against insurgents. Moscow-appointed Deputy Prime Minister Isa Aliroyev complained publicly that his would-be government’s "influence is shrinking as a result of inappropriate federal attacks against civilians, such as shelling of villages." Moscow-installed "head of the republic" Doku Zavgayev, meeting with senior Russian commanders, argued in vain that promoting disarmament through political methods and without using force would help strengthen his government’s authority.

Pro-independence, mostly pro-Dudayev parties grouped in the Assembly of Parties and Movements of the Chechen Republic, accused Russian forces of "gross violations" of the armistice agreement and demanded their withdrawal to make possible the holding of free elections. In separate statements, Dzhokhar Dudayev’s foreign minister Ruslan Chimayev and Ruslan Khasbulatov’s Movement for the Revival of the Republic ruled out the holding of elections in Chechnya before the withdrawal of Russian troops.

In Moscow yesterday, hospitalized President Boris Yeltsin conferred with his Security Council secretary and special envoy for Chechnya, Oleg Lobov, and called for federal and republican elections to be held simultaneously in Chechnya next month. Lobov and chief negotiator Vyacheslav Mikhailov also declared that Moscow would conclude a power-sharing agreement with the Zavgayev government after the elections. But Lobov and Mikhailov also repeated assurances that negotiations with the Dudayev side would continue in the armistice control commission. Moreover, they proposed calling a round-table conference of "all" Chechen political forces–a proposal promptly welcomed by Dudayev’s spokesman Movladi Udugov as providing another forum (after the military and political negotiations in Grozny) in which Moscow would implicitly accept the Dudayev side as legitimate. (5)

Russia Ambiguous On Legal Basis Of Estonian Independence.