In an interview published on a separatist-controlled website and excerpted by
Gazeta.ru on July 6, Aslan Maskhadov made a novel suggestion to his adversaries in Moscow. He offered to Russia the help of his guerrillas in securing the Caucasus from influence by Western countries. “We declare to Russia,” he said, “that if she removes her troops [from Chechnya] then we ourselves will strengthen the southern borders and will block here the influence of other countries, not allowing them to reach the Caspian through Chechnya—but all this on the condition that Russia understands us and helps us.”
But Maskhadov balanced that idea with a quite different offer: that if it turns out that the West’s interests in the Caucasus “coincide” with those of the Chechens, then he is ready to cooperate with the West instead.