At a January 31 briefing, Lt. General Vyacheslav Tikhomirov, commander of Russian forces in Chechnya, ruled out any resumption of talks with representatives of ousted Chechen president Dzhokhar Dudayev. Tikhomirov said the Russian command plans to attack Chechen forces on a district-by-district basis, create "peace zones," and sign treaties with the administration of each pacified district. Russian troops will be withdrawn from each district after the conclusion of a treaty. Tikhomirov also identified the holding of "parliamentary" elections in Chechnya as a "high priority task." The general assessed current Chechen forces as consisting of disparate units numbering only 10 to 40 fighters each, without a joint staff or any kind of operational coordination. As he spoke, five Russian servicemen, including two Federal Security Service officers, were officially reported killed and seven wounded January 30-31. (8)
Russia Views Trade Agreement as Ending Dispute Over Chechnya.