Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 144

Russian Prime Minister Sergei Kirienko is expected to meet with Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov in the Chechen capital, Djohar, this week. Maskhadov said he was ready to meet Kirienko. He stressed that Russia should make good on earlier promises of financial and other aid to the breakaway republic but that Russia’s continued failure to do so should not stand in the way of negotiations. Kirienko said yesterday that he planned to discuss anti-crime measures with the Chechen authorities. “The best way would be to restore Chechnya’s economy and society; that would destroy the roots of crime,” Maskhadov said. He said he favored the idea of Russia and Chechnya establishing “a single economic, defense, air and transport space” but that he would sign no document that would curtail Chechnya’s independence. The state of emergency declared by Maskhadov in the republic a month ago formally expired yesterday, and Maskhadov said he did not intend to extend it. (Russian agencies, July 27)

Four leading Russian politicians–former premier and leader of the Russia is Our Home movement Viktor Chernomyrdin, CIS Executive Secretary and tycoon Boris Berezovsky, Tatarstani President Mintimer Shaimiev and Krasnoyarsk governor Aleksandr Lebed–appealed to President Yeltsin yesterday both to formulate a coherent policy toward Chechnya and the North Caucasus and to ensure that it is implemented consistently. “Recent errors and silence have cost us all too dearly,” they said–though they did not spell out what policy changes they hoped to see.

The appeal was endorsed by Ivan Rybkin, Russia’s chief negotiator with Chechnya. As he has consistently done in the past, Rybkin singled out social and economic issues as those most urgently needing to be discussed by Kirienko and Maskhadov. Rybkin said 80 percent of Chechnya’s male population are now jobless, with unemployment virtually total among young members of the population. He said Russia’s regions should be encouraged to cooperate with Chechnya–something that has been attempted by Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov. (Itar-Tass, July 27)