Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov says he will shortly reshuffle his cabinet. The reshuffle is necessary because several ministers, mainly supporters of former acting Prime Minister Shamil Basaev, have recently resigned. In the future, Maskhadov announced, he will exercise his constitutional right to act as his own prime minister and never again share the responsibility. The president expressed dissatisfaction with the results of his power-sharing experiment with Basaev–who, Maskhadov complained, failed to crack down on crime. Maskhadov said he would cut bureaucracy by merging the presidential and governmental administrations, devolving power to industrial enterprises, and disbanding the ministries and government departments which have until now overseen the enterprises. Maskhadov denied rumors that he will invite Ruslan Khasbulatov, the Chechen economist who was speaker of the Supreme Soviet forcefully disbanded by President Yeltsin in October 1993, to join the Chechen government.
Maskhadov said Chechnya has no intention of interfering, directly or indirectly, with events in Dagestan. In a clear reference to Basaev, Maskhadov criticized those seeking to destabilize the situation in the neighboring republic. Basaev has more than once promised support, including military aid, for Dagestan’s radical Islamic opposition. (Nezavisimaya gazeta, September 5) Basaev responded by accusing Maskhadov of appeasing the Kremlin and throwing away the Chechen people’s hard-won gains. He was particularly critical of Maskhadov for agreeing to meet during the summer with Russia’s then prime minister, Sergei Kirienko. Kirienko proposed turning Chechnya into a free enterprise zone. This would, Basaev pointed out, reduce Chechnya to the status of Russia’s Kaliningrad Oblast. (Russian agencies, September 6)
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