During his July 27 meeting with President Vladimir Putin, Akhmad Kadyrov, who heads the pro-Moscow administration in Chechnya, expressed concern over the absence of real security in the republic. “There isn’t security for anyone in Chechnya–not for me, not for anyone,” Kadyrov said, adding that the responsibility for providing security in the republic rested with the federal forces remaining there (Russian agencies, NTV, July 27). Just a day after he made this comment, the Federal Security Service (FSB) claimed that it had foiled a plot by rebels to kill the pro-Moscow leader. According to Ilya Shabalkin, an FSB spokesman in Djohar [Grozny], the Chechen capital, the agency had learned two months earlier of a plot by agents of Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov to assassinate Kadyrov. Shabalkin claimed the FSB had foiled the plot, which was in its “next-to-the-last” phase, when it discovered four tons of saltpeter and a bomb consisting of a 152-millimeter artillery shell and the explosive hexogen hidden in an abandoned garage 300 meters from the Chechen government’s building, in which Kadyrov’s office is located. The FSB spokesman claimed if the rebels had managed to use these explosives against the building, several hundred people might have been killed (Lenta.ru, July 28). Kadyrov was reportedly the target of an assassination attempt this past January 4, when a bomb went off as his motorcade passed by. He was not hurt in the blast (see the Monitor, July 8).
Meanwhile, an investigation has been launched into the June 27 killing of two Chechens who had been cooperating with Kadyrov’s administration. The murders took place in the village of Bachi-Yurt, located some thirty kilometers (eighteen miles) east of the capital. Such attacks continue throughout the republic. Federal troop positions and checkpoints came under fire fourteen times during the twenty-four-hour period between July 27 and July 28. One serviceman was killed and three wounded in those attacks. Two Russian soldiers were killed in the capital on July 28 while trying to defuse a mine; five were wounded in rebel attacks on July 29 (AP, July 28, 30; Russian agencies, July 30).
General Vladimir Moltenskoi, acting commander of the federal forces in Chechnya, claimed yesterday that Russian troops had destroyed a unit of fifteen to twenty rebel fighters near the southeastern town of Vedeno. He said that several rebels were killed during a bombardment and the remainder forced into a minefield, after which Russian troops conducted passport checks in several adjacent villages. The state’s Itar-Tass news agency quoted the head of the Vedeno regional administration as saying that the identity checks were carried out “in an orderly fashion” (AFP, July 30). The Russian Interior Ministry today reported today that a rebel “brigade general” had been captured in Djohar. The ministry’s press office said that the rebel leader, whom it did not name, had helped organize protest demonstrations in various parts of the republic, including the Kurchaloi and Sunzhensk districts, at the start of July (Gazeta.ru, July 30).
FRANCE FOR THE BALTS IN NATO.