Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 18

"If the elections are conducted fairly, I have no doubt I shall win in the first round," says Chechen presidential candidate Aslan Maskhadov. Fellow candidate Movladi Udugov agrees. He says that "according to the polls, there won’t be a second round, since Maskhadov will win in the first round." (NTV, January 26)

In the opinion of most Russian journalists, Maskhadov is the candidate Moscow hopes to see as president. But Maskhadov disagrees: "Obviously my candidacy is the most dangerous for Russia. If I win in free and fair democratic elections, Russia will be forced to recognize the legitimacy of the popularly elected president and the government formed by that president. Then, we will have to sit at the negotiating table as equals and continue what was started at Khasavyurt. Unfortunately, in my opinion, Russia is not yet ready to do this, and would therefore prefer a more extreme candidate to win. Then Russia will be able to say: ‘We would have negotiated, but how can you talk to these people?’" (ORT, January 25)

Basaev May be More Moderate Than Expected.