Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 2 Issue: 24

Aleksei Arbatov, deputy chairman of the Russian State Duma’s defense committee and a member of the Yabloko faction, believes that most Russians hold a mistaken view of what is actually happening in Chechnya. “People,” he remarked, “are of the opinion that, while the federal forces to a certain extent are keeping things under control in the plains, the real war is underway in the mountains, and nothing can be done there…. Strange as it may seem, the situation is the other way around. Right now, in the mountains things are under control to a much greater extent than in the plains regions.” “The situation in the plains,” Arbatov went on, “is not under control. Terrorist acts and attacks take place in Grozny every day, and it is the same at the defensive installations. The armed separatist movement is skirting Chechnya’s foreign borders from two sides, from Ingushetia in the West and through Dagestan in the East. Militants come and go freely across the republic’s borders. What’s more, the situation is out of control outside the republic, and in the plain zones at that” (Vremya MN, June 11, translated by Ichkeria.org, June 12).