The fact that such an incident could take place on the eve of the elections is confirmation of a split in the once-united Chechen resistance forces. When he was still Security Council secretary, Aleksandr Lebed asserted that only 30 percent of the Chechen resistance fighters were completely loyal to Maskhadov, another 30 percent were partially loyal to him, and the rest obeyed only their own field commanders. Lebed included Raduev among those who were "partially loyal."
During the war, Chechnya was divided into zones of influence of individual field commanders, each reliant on people from his own region. This system remains in force today. Raduev holds sway in Gudermes raion, Shamil Basaev in Vedeno raion. This "feudalization" of Chechnya could lead to a situation in which, even after democratic elections, pockets of Chechen society will not accept their results and regions could emerge that will not obey any elected leadership. Leaders like Raduev could try to gain de facto independence for the regions under their control. In the worst case, this could lead to what skeptics have been predicting all along — armed confrontation in Chechnya. (Nezavisimaya gazeta, December 16)
Moscow Protests Opening of Chechen Information Center in Warsaw.