“We tried to approach the Russian government with our proposal several times. We told them, ‘Let’s stop this war ourselves without involving anyone into this process.’ We are fighting to eliminate the danger to the very existence of the Chechen people. And where does this danger emanate from? From the Russian state. They start wars with us whenever they want. They deport us whenever they want. They brand us traitors. They call us terrorists. They blow up their houses in Moscow and Volgodonsk and blame us for that. As long as we remain under the jurisdiction of their constitutional law, the danger will always be there. Our fight is about this danger. This danger will be eliminated only if we get an international status, only international law can protect us. So far as other things are concerned, we are prepared to do whatever they want us to do, whatever they find advantageous. We can jointly manage our economy, defenses. We can jointly guard our borders. We can create a common currency and conduct our diplomatic affairs together. We can think of common investment programs. We are prepared to sign agreements on collective security and join the fight against terrorism. That is what we are telling the Russians. But they don’t want that. I see only one reason for that; it’s because of their old imperial ambitions. In this situation, we are compelled to seek friends elsewhere simply because Russians don’t want friendship with us.” –Aslan Maskhadov, president of Chechnya’s underground separatist government, in written responses to questions from the North Caucasus Service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, published on June 18.
Alu Alkhanov, the front-running candidate for the presidency of Chechnya’s pro-Moscow administration, commented (as quoted by Russky Kurier on June 21) that “there will be no negotiations with Maskhadov.”