Only one Budennovskmilitiaman in eight was armed when the Chechen strike force tookhostages there in June, local officials told Russian televisionJuly 16. As a result, the militia could do little against them.But now the militia has a new and perhaps more doable task. Theauthorities in Stavropol kray have asked it to enforce the region’sstrict passport regime and to expel those lacking a residencepermit, Russian radio reported July 15. As in Moscow in October1993, this passport check is directed at North Caucasians–includingChechens–who have fled into Stavropol from the fighting in theirown areas. Any expulsions will simply raise tensions throughoutthe region. Interior ministry officials told a recent conferencein Stavropol that 80 percent of all criminals in the North Caucasianregion were non-Russians and that Moscow had an interest in suppressingthem because unlike other ethnic criminals, the North Caucasianshad spread their criminal gangs throughout Russia, Stavropolskiyegubernskie bedomosti reported June 17.
Moscow Releases Chechen Representative.