The anniversary of Chechen independence passed relatively calmly in most regions of the republic, without any major incidents reported. On the eve of the anniversary, Russian military authorities imposed strict security measures in and around Grozny. Massive Russian patrols were joined by forces commanded by Chechen chief of staff Aslan Maskhadov, which were also watching to prevent security breaches. Despite these measures, a crowd of about 6,000 supporters of Chechen president Dzhokhar Dudayev gathered in Grozny carrying portraits of historic Chechen and Caucasus leaders of resistance to Russian conquest, and chanting slogans calling for full Chechen independence and a complete withdrawal of Russian troops from the region. The crowd proclaimed themselves to be the "Congress of the Chechen People" and expressed their complete support for Dudayev. Speaking at the meeting, Maskhadov said that he also supported Chechen independence, but would like to reach it by peaceful means.
Meanwhile, Russian security council secretary Oleg Lobov said that he has been given broad powers by President Yeltsin as his representative in Chechnya, and that the main goal of his stay in Grozny is to launch a civilian, non-violent government, and to restore Chechnya’s economy as a part of the Russian Federation. Despite Lobov’s conciliatory remarks, the Russian local military commanders see the situation on the ground rather differently. Maj. Gen. Pavel Maslov, for example, said that in some regions of the republic, Dzhokhar Dudayev’s supporters have begun to organize de facto local electoral campaigns. These are being conducted in response to Dudayev’s appeal to his supporters to hold their own parliamentary elections on October 17. Many Chechens are heeding Dudayev’s call, Maslov said, and he does not know whether Moscow can find a way out of the situation.2
Chechen Detainees Held in Inhuman Conditions.