Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 162

Russia’s chief security official, Aleksandr Lebed, signed on August 31 a joint political statement and a document on Russia-Chechnya relations, following day-long talks with Chechen chief of staff Aslan Maskhadov and political leader Zelimkhan Yandarbiev in Khasavyurt (Dagestan). The OSCE’s Chechnya mission chief Tim Guldimann attended. "The war is finished, enough of it," Lebed announced after the signing. Apparently hinting at his own political plans, he pointedly remarked that "generals are the best politicians." Less subtly, the Chechen delegation shouted "Lebed for president."

The political statement provides for reciprocal renunciation of the use or the threat of force, settlement of disputes through negotiation only, and joint adherence to the UN’s 1949 declaration on human rights and 1966 pact on civil and political rights. The document on Russia-Chechnya relations provides for codifying Chechnya’s political status by December 31, 2001 — the "deferred status" option sought by Moscow and accepted from the outset by the resistance leadership. The Kremlin’s draft is said to have provided for a 10-year transitional period, reduced to five by agreement between Lebed and the resistance leaders at the Khasavyurt talks.

During the transitional period, the sides will jointly police Chechnya, take steps toward the complete withdrawal of Russian troops, and restore economic relations between the federal center and Chechnya. The Chechen side undertakes to observe the rights of all residents of the republic irrespective of ethnicity and faith. A joint commission will oversee the implementation of the agreement and negotiate the further measures envisaged by it.

At Chechen insistence, the documents make reference to the people’s right of self-determination but not to the territorial integrity of states and inviolability of existing borders. The resistance leadership is being referred to as Chechen authorities in the documents, seeming to completely jettison Doku Zavgaev’s Moscow-installed administration which has reportedly disintegrated in most of the republic. (Russian and Western agencies, August 31, September 1 and 2)

…The Uncertainty.