Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 26

In his meeting with the pro-Moscow chief of administration, Akhmad Kadyrov, and other Chechen leaders, Kvashnin “underlined that he is prepared at any minute to give a command concerning the withdrawal of military units based in population points, if the heads of the district administration are prepared to take on themselves the responsibility for the situation in their region” (Chechenskaya Respublika, September 10). Writing in the newspaper Kommersant (September 10), journalist Ol’ga Allenova emphasized that Kvashnin’s words went directly contrary to the wishes of the Kadyrov leadership: “In the very near future, the question of conducting [Chechen] presidential elections is to be decided, while a complication in the circumstances in Chechnya can serve to postpone the elections for an indefinite time… [Kvashnin] attentively heard out the head of the Chechen administration, but did not provide him with any grounds for hope. On that very day, in some districts of Chechnya, large-scale special operations to seek out rebels and arms got underway. The villages entered by the troops and special units were fully blockaded: Even women and children were not permitted to leave…. It would appear that that short period of time during which the military leadership listened to Mr. Kadyrov and promised both an end to the cleansing operations and a speedy withdrawal of forces has now passed.” A re-intensification of Russian military efforts had apparently resulted from the general’s inspection visit, as well as an evident downgrading of the process of “Chechenization.”