On Tuesday, Akhmal Saitov, deputy representative of the Russian government in Chechnya, was kidnapped. The Interior Ministry believes that he was taken hostage to extract a ransom. Saitov participated in the negotiations for the release of Valentin Vlasov, the Russian president’s representative in the republic, who has been in captivity for five months–terrorists are demanding US$4 million for his release (Kommersant daily, October 1).
According to Nezavisimaya gazeta’s version, however, the latest crime may have political goals and be the work of field commanders opposed to Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov. The newspaper noted that well-known Chechen terrorist Salman Raduev has, of late, shown himself to be remarkably well informed about the taking of hostages. He predicted precisely when the British citizens John James and Camille Carr would be freed, and then announced that the kidnappers of Valentin Vlasov were prepared to free him in exchange for the extradition to Chechen law enforcement authorities of Doku Zavgaev, Moscow’s protege in Chechnya during the war. According to Nezavisimaya gazeta, Raduev’s knowledge about these incidents strangely coincides with his active campaigning against Chechen President Maskhadov (Nezavisimaya gazeta, October 1).
DUMA’S MAJORITY SAID TO SIGN UP FOR EMPIRE.