DELEGATIONS TO CHECHEN TALKS REFLECT SPECTRUM OF VIEWS.
Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 107
The Russian and Chechen sides announced yesterday the composition of their respective delegations to the talks, rescheduled to open in Ingushetia’s capital Nazran today, on implementing the May 27 Moscow armistice agreement. The Russian delegation includes: nationalities minister Vyacheslav Mikhailov (chief delegate); Lt. General Vyacheslav Tikhomirov, commander of Russian forces in Chechnya, Duma nationalities committee chairman and former chief governmental representative in Chechnya Vladimir Zorin; former Federal Security Service chief and war instigator Sergei Stepashin, now executive secretary of Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin’s commission for Chechnya settlement; and Maj. General Nikolai Beloborodov, a Duma deputy of the red-brown group Narodovlastie who is in charge of prisoner and MIA issues; and presumably also a representative of the Russian-installed Chechen authorities. Mikhailov and Zorin are considered as relative moderates and led the Russian side in the abortive negotiations held from July to October 1995. The Chechen delegation is to be comprised of acting president Zelimkhan Yandarbiev’s senior political adviser Said-Hussein Abumuslimov, chief of staff Aslan Maskhadov, former chief negotiator Hodjahmed Yarikhanov, information minister Movladi Udugov, and field commanders Ahmed Zakaev and Shirvani Basaev who is a brother of Shamil Basaev.
The Russian side has all along expressed a preference for dealing with Maskhadov and Yarikhanov, thereby implicitly acknowledging that they found these men reasonable during the 1995 negotiations – although Moscow denied this at the time. However, Russian military officials in Moscow and Grozny in the last few days have issued an unprecedented series of statements accusing Maskhadov of intending to wreck the talks. This adds to other indications (see Monitor, June 3) that the Russian military seek justifications for continuing the hostilities.
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