Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 88

Chechen fighters over the weekend attacked the Russian Internal Affairs Ministry’s Grozny headquarters for Chechnya, killing three Russian soldiers and wounding others. The ministry complained that Chechen fighters were breaking into its radio frequencies to "spread propaganda." The Defense Ministry acknowledged that the resistance shot down a Sukhoy-25 ground assault plane over Nozhay Yurt district in southeastern Chechnya, the fifth Russian combat plane to be downed since the beginning of the war and the second in less than a month; the plane’s two airmen were killed. The Chechen resistance said yesterday that its forces ambushed and largely destroyed a Russian armored column between Argun and Gudermes in eastern Chechnya.

In Moscow, the Russian authorities arrested Beslan Gantemirov, deputy prime minister of the collaborationist administration in Chechnya, and sent him to Lefortovo prison on charges of corruption. Gantemirov had, in fact, strongly criticized recently the unpunished plunder of civilian goods by Russian troops garrisoned in Chechnya. Shocked officials of Doku Zavgaev’s Grozny administration said that Gantemirov’s arrest "severely undermines" their position in the eyes of the populace. Moscow failed to consult Grozny on the move, just as it appointed last month a prime minister in Grozny in the person of a Russian general by edict from Moscow. Such one-sided, arbitrary moves can only reduce Moscow’s chances to reassure Chechens that it will respect the autonomy which the federal center professed to offer Chechnya as part of a political settlement of the conflict. (Itar-Tass, Interfax, NTV, Western agencies, May 4 and 5)

Yeltsin and Yavlinsky Meet.