Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 192

Security Council secretary Aleksandr Lebed met yesterday with Dagestan’s leader, Magomedali Magomedov. According to the official statement that followed the meeting, the two men discussed the situation in Chechnya, including plans to build a railroad through Dagestan bypassing Chechnya. (Interfax, October 14) Work on the 80 km railroad is to start at the end of this year and is due to be completed in 1999. Prior to the meeting, the chairman of Dagestan’s parliament, Mukhu Aliev, told the Monitor that Magomedov would also inform Lebed about the situation in Dagestan where, Aliev warned, separatist sentiment and the activity of criminal gangs are both on the rise. "The Kremlin may have settled the Chechen crisis," Aliev said, "but for us the problems have only just begun."

Complaining about cross-border raids from Chechnya into Dagestan, Aliev said Magomedov would ask Lebed to tighten border security. At present, he said, federal troops "are only thinking about going home." The Dagestani authorities may be trying to exploit the situation in Chechnya to wring more money out of Moscow. Eighty-five percent of Dagestan’s budget comes from federal subsidies. "Russia has spent a sum equivalent to five times our republic’s annual budget on the reconstruction of Chechnya, while we haven’t gotten even a third of the money that’s coming to us. If Russia continues to withhold this money, it will be very hard for us to prevent a social explosion," Aliev told the Monitor.

Robbing Pyotr to Pay Pavel.