The supporters of newly-elected Chechen president Maskhadov say they intend to sue outgoing president Yandarbiev for slander. They allege the slander occurred when Yandarbiev accused the head of Maskhadov’s campaign team of being an officer of the Russian special services. They are taking their complaint to Chechnya’s new Shariat court, set up on Yandarbiev’s initiative. (Itar-Tass, February 4)
This is not the only evidence of a growing confrontation between Maskhadov and Yandarbiev. At a gathering of Yandarbiev’s supporters in Djohar-gala, as the capital of Chechnya is now called, speakers proclaimed that Yandarbiev is and will remain president of the republic until the Almighty removes him from his post. (ORT, February 4) Even more alarming is evidence that the confrontation has spread to the armed forces. Amar Chadaev, who was appointed chief of staff of the armed forces of Chechnya-Ichkeria by Yandarbiev two weeks ago, has been unable to take up his post. The former chief of staff, Alki Batalov, who was appointed by Maskhadov, claims that Chadaev has no right to be chief of staff since he did not take part in military operations. As a result, there is a power vacuum in the main staff of the Chechen armed forces. (ORT, February 4)
Moscow Pokes Biggest Hole Yet in Trans-Chechnya Pipeline.