Chechen president Aslan Maskhadov is planning visits to a number of CIS states this summer, during which Chechnya may sign treaties on economic and cultural cooperation. Originally, Maskhadov was said to be planning visits to several Middle Eastern states, from whose leaders he had received invitations during last month’s pilgrimage to Mecca. These trips have now been postponed until the fall. (Interfax, May 19)
Maskhadov’s change of plan may perhaps be linked with Djohar-gala’s recent and unexpected reorientation toward Russia and the CIS. After signing the Russian-Chechen treaty last week, Maskhadov announced that Chechnya does not intend to reorient itself toward the Muslim countries and that Russia — "a great country" — would remain its main partner. According to the magazine Itogi, Maskhadov took this bold step after the Kremlin signed the treaty and, in essence, apologized to the Chechens for its centuries-old colonial policies. (Itogi, May 20)
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