Aslan Maskhadov, president of Chechnya’s underground secessionist government, said in an e-mail communication to the Reuters news agency last weekend that attacks similar to the June raid on Ingushetia may be repeated in other parts of Russia. While disavowing any personal participation in the attack on Ingushetia, Maskhadov insisted that such attacks are “perfectly legal—no less legal than the operations of the allies on the territory of Hitler’s Germany during World War II. If the Chechens had airplanes or rockets, it would be fully legal for us to carry out air raids on Russian cities.”
Maskhadov attributed the June raid to indigenous “patriotic forces” in Ingushetia, though he added that these forces also received “the help of some Chechens.”
The separatist leader reiterated that he is still ready to enter into negotiations with Moscow. At the same time, he predicted that such negotiations will not take place anytime soon, and that the war will continue for a long time—even after the departure of Putin from the Kremlin.
On the terrorist warlord Shamil Basayev, Maskhadov said that “he has himself decided to distance himself from our official structures, but continues to battle the occupiers successfully.”
Alu Alkhanov, the likely winner in next month’s election for the presidency of the pro-Moscow administration in Grozny, accused Western countries of bearing “responsibility for the tragedy of the Chechen people” by publishing Maskhadov’s words, Interfax reported on July 18.