Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 98

Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov has not yet decided whether to attend Aleksandr Lebed’s inauguration as governor of Krasnoyarsk Krai. Right after his victory, Lebed announced that he intended to invite Maskhadov to the ceremony. According to Chechen Deputy Premier Turpal Atgeriev, “the Chechen leadership followed the course of Lebed’s campaign closely and welcomes the news of his decisive victory.” (NTV, May 19)

In Chechnya, Lebed’s name is identified with the Khasavyurt accords, which he signed in his capacity as secretary of the Russian Security Council and which led to the withdrawal of Russian troops from Chechnya. It is therefore not surprising that, as Atgeriev said, “the Chechen people have great respect for Lebed, in spite of the fact that he is a Russian general.”

But if Maskhadov went to Krasnoyarsk, it could put Djohar in an ambiguous position. The leaders of Russia’s component regions will also be invited to the ceremony, and Maskhadov will want to avoid even an indirect admission that Chechnya is also a subject of the Russian Federation. Moreover, Lebed’s inauguration coincides with a worsening in relations between Moscow and Djohar, caused by the kidnapping of Russian presidential representative Valentin Vlasov; this circumstance also makes the trip unlikely.