Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 1

On December 28, the president of the autonomous republic of Ingushetia, Ruslan Aushev, announced that he was stepping down as president. He said that he was taking this act “for the sake of preserving stability in the republic.” The next presidential elections in Ingushetia are not scheduled until March 2003. The chairman of the Ingush government, Akhmet Malsagov, will serve as acting president until the new elections (, December 28). The Chechen separatist website, which is based in Tbilisi, Georgia, noted on December 29 that Aushev had been “forced to go” by his many high-ranking political enemies, whose ranks included the Kremlin, Viktor Kazantsev, plenipotentiary presidential representative in the Southern Federal District, Akhmad Kadyrov, and Bislan Gantamirov. “The Kremlin,” the website observed, “did not like his independent position towards the ongoing Russo-Chechen war… Ruslan Aushev was the only leader of the North Caucasus republics who spoke out against a military resolution of the Russo-Chechen conflict… Repeatedly and at different political levels, he proposed that the Kremlin sit down at the negotiating table with Chechen Republic of Ichkeria President Maskhadov.”