Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 7

Russian prosecutor general Yury Skuratov told a press conference yesterday that the Russian authorities have no intention of dropping charges against Chechnya’s acting prime minister, Shamil Basaev, who is still wanted in Russia for his role in the June, 1995, hostage-taking raid on Budennovsk in which more than 100 people were killed. "No matter what his political status is, for us he remains a person accused of serious crimes, including terrorism," Skuratov said. "The warrant for Basaev’s arrest is still in force, and whenever an opportunity emerges, police or other law enforcement agencies should carry it out." But Russian deputy premier Ramazan Abdulatipov said he saw nothing criminal in the fact that Basaev would be leading Chechnya’s new Cabinet of Ministers. According to Abdulatipov, who has just returned from Grozny, "We can and must do business with this government." (NTV, RTR, January 12)

This is far from the first sign of disagreement between top Kremlin officials over what to do in the North Caucasus. Only a few days ago, Russian Security Council secretary Ivan Rybkin disavowed Deputy Premier Anatoly Kulikov’s call for preemptive strikes against Chechen bases. Clearly, the Kremlin has still not worked out a strategy for the region.

Car Bomb in Makhachkala.