Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 132

The delegation of senior Russian officials returned to Moscow yesterday after the latest in a series of unsuccessful meetings with Chechen resistance leaders. Chechen delegates said that the Moscow and Nazran armistice agreements had become "mere pieces of paper" as Russian troops are actually increasing the number of troops blockading Chechen towns and villages, contrary to the Nazran agreement which had provided for lifting the blockade starting June 11. The Russian military wants to maintain the blockade because it extorts bribes from the Chechen populace in exchange for free passage, the Chechen delegates said. Russian observers have often noted that the military also accept bribes from resistance fighters to let them through checkpoints.

In Moscow, the head of the Chechnya commission of the Council of Europe, Ernst Muehlemann urged Yeltsin to heed Russian public opinion and end the war. "Yeltsin cannot work without the people, he must hear the voice of the people," Muehlemann told a news conference at which he cited recent opinion polls placing the Chechnya war at the top of the Russian public’s concerns. (Russian and Western agencies, July 3 and 4)

Balts Remain Wary of Russia.