Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 26

On September 9-10, the chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, General of the Army Anatoly Kvashnin, conducted an inspection visit of Russian military and police checkpoints and other sites in Chechnya and then held a meeting with pro-Moscow republican leaders. On September 10, “Kvashnin arrived at the [pro-Moscow] Chechen administration building in Grozny not on a helicopter, as was expected, but in a Zhiguli car without a guard accompanying him.” It emerged that, like Gogol’s famous inspector general, Kvashnin had been traveling about the Chechen capital incognito. “Kvashnin said that under the guise of a local resident he had driven about the Oktyabr’sky District of Grozny. During the period of his visit, he was ‘a witness of how at one of the checkpoints they solicited a bribe to let the car pass.'” He said also that he had met with local Chechen residents and had been struck by their ignorance. They did not know, for example, “who the head of the district was, who the local [military] commandant was, or who the chief of police was.” The local military commandants’ offices, Kvashnin noted with visible anger, had been created “to assist local life and not to create barriers to movement for someone’s benefit” (NTVru.com, September 10). The newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta (September 12) wrote that, through his actions, Kvashnin had now made himself “new enemies in the persons of Minister of Internal Affairs Boris Gryzlov and the chief commander of the [MVD] internal troops, General Vyacheslav Tikhomirov, inasmuch as it is precisely their subordinates who are creating the anarchy [in Chechnya].”