Almost two months after his election as president of Chechnya, Aslan Maskhadov has announced his government. Maskhadov himself will act as prime minister with Movladi Udugov as his first deputy. Many of those appointed held posts in the previous, provisional administration. Kazbek Makhachev remains minister of internal affairs, while Khodzh-Akhmed Yarikhanov keeps his job of president of the Southern Oil Company. Aslanbek Ismailov and Aslanbek Abdulkhadzhiev, members of Shamil Basaev’s entourage, join the government. Akhmed Zakaev remains both minister of culture and presidential assistant for national security, and Lechi Batalov will work on state property issues. Khalid Vitushev and Adani Osmaev, representatives of Doku Zavgaev’s pro-Moscow leadership, also enter the cabinet. (Interfax, March 19)
Almost all those named belong to what Moscow considers the moderate wing of the Chechen leadership, that is, all those willing to make compromises in negotiations with Moscow. Radical field commander Shamil Basaev, runner-up in January’s presidential election, has not been included in order to avoid irritating Russia. Nonetheless, the influence of the radical wing remains strong, since Basaev and Ruslan Gelaev, another advocate of a tough line toward Moscow, are members of the Supreme Presidential Council. Originally, this body was supposed to be disbanded as soon as the new government was in place, but Maskhadov has since decided that it will continue to operate on a permanent basis.
Some Structural Changes in the Defense Ministry.