Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 2 Issue: 5

Spokesmen for the Russian leadership have begun making a great deal out of the supposed fact that Aslan Maskhadov’s powers as Chechen president were to expire at the end of January 2001. Thus journalist Timofei Borisov wrote in the government newspaper Rossiiskaya gazeta: “De facto Maskhadov has for a long time not been president [of Chechnya]. Formally, he was legitimately elected until today, January 25, 2001.” Other Russian spokesmen have issued similar statements. Strangely, none of these spokesmen seem to have been aware that Maskahdov was elected on January 27, 1997 (not January 25) to a five-year term. As noted, this key point was stressed by Maskhadov’s official representative, Akh’yad Idigov, and by other Chechen separatist spokesmen, as well as by the French committee “Chechnya” and the Russian human rights committee “Memorial,” at the recent PACE meetings in Strasbourg (, January 25). Maskhadov himself chose to underscore this point during a recent interview (Reuters, January 27). To sum up, Maskhadov’s presidential powers expire not now but a year from now: on January 27, 2002.