Speaking on Friday evening on Georgian television, Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov announced that Grozny intends to recall its representatives from the Russian capital because Moscow has not complied with the Russian-Chechen peace treaty signed last May. Maskhadov also announced that Grozny intends to cut off all flights from Moscow to Sheikh Mansur Airport, because the Kremlin has gone back on its word and not given that airport international status. In Maskhadov’s opinion, this will demonstrate to the world that Chechnya is being blockaded.
According to Chechen Foreign Minister Movladi Udugov, this harsh statement is not a final decision, but a warning to Moscow on the need for progress in the negotiations. Udugov said that Maskhadov’s statement was also motivated by Moscow’s failure to pay Chechen pensioners during the month of Ramadan. But already on Saturday, it became clear that the Chechens were not yet ready to recall their representatives. Grozny proposed to meet with Moscow’s representatives to resolve the situation. (NTV, February 6; RTR, February 7) Maskhadov’s statement therefore appears to have been a propaganda ploy to attract the attention of the world community to Chechnya’s plight.
Contrary to previous agreements, Grozny has not yet received from Moscow the resources necessary to restore the republic’s war-ravaged economy. In Grozny’s opinion, Moscow is deliberately erecting a blockade around Chechnya. Several months ago, Maskhadov was already saying that if Moscow continued this policy, Grozny would be forced to explain to the residents of the republic that "Chechnya has been turned into a besieged fortress."
…Alleges that Rogue Field Commanders Want to Destabilize Situation.