Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 2 Issue: 9

In an interview with Novaya Gazeta (no. 12, 2001), the newly appointed prime minister of Chechnya, Stanislav Il’yasov, made some unusually sympathetic comments about the sufferings of the Chechen populace. “The main thing,” he observed, “is that if we say that it is time to move from military to civilian life, then the republic has to be opened up. Today it is closed. The Chechens sit there as if they were in a prison cell, and we look at them through a peephole; the press and the entire country regard the sufferings of a people shut up in a cage…. That is why I feel nothing but compassion for the Chechens. The trains don’t run, the planes don’t fly and the checkpoints are everywhere…. Many of the checkpoints can be taken down.”

And Il’yasov continued: “I am convinced that it is necessary to revoke the curfew. It is impossible for people to work! People can’t move around at night. If someone hasn’t left work by 5:00 p.m., then he has to spend the whole night there. We have to restore life in Chechnya to a rhythm which is normal for the entire rest of the country.” Il’yasov also noted that the current plan is for the government of Chechnya to move from Gudermes to Djohar by the end of March or the beginning of April.