Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov says Chechnya should be allowed to become independent. Luzhkov, who has said this before, was reacting to last week’s open letter in which four leading Russian politicians called on the Russian government to change its policy toward the breakaway republic. The letter attracted particular attention because it was signed by two potential candidates for the 2000 Russian presidential election, Viktor Chernomyrdin and Aleksandr Lebed. Luzhkov dismissed the letter as “hypocrisy” since, he said, the politicians were calling for a change in a policy that they themselves pursued when in office. (NTV, August 1)
IMF CHECKS RUSSIA’S PROGRESS.