A dangerous political confrontation is taking shape in Chechnya. Meeting in Djohar yesterday, a congress of some forty opposition groups voted no confidence in President Aslan Maskhadov and called for his resignation (NTV, September 29). Maskhadov was accused of being too compliant toward Moscow, violating the constitution and failing to govern the republic effectively. The congress was organized by Vice President Vakha Arsanov, former acting Prime Minister Shamil Basaev, and field commanders Salman Raduev, Ruslan Gilaev and Khunkar-pasha Israpilov (Nezavisimaya gazeta, September 29). Maskhadov is now almost completely isolated, opposed by virtually all the leading field commanders and his own vice president. Until now, only Raduev, who is not widely popular in Chechnya, and former President Zelimkhan Yandarbiev had criticized Maskhadov openly. Basaev’s decision to join the opposition is especially dangerous for Maskhadov. Basaev has enjoyed enormous popular esteem ever since he led the June 1995 attack on Budennovsk. He now commands the armed forces of the Confederation of the Peoples of Chechnya and Dagestan, one of the best trained armed groups in Chechnya.
THE WESTERN REGION SELEZNEV CALLS UKRAINE TO ORDER.