"One shouldn’t take too seriously what the presidential candidates said in their campaigns about Chechnya seceding from Russia. Let the elections run their course, and everything cool down, and then we’ll sit down and start working together," Russian prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin said yesterday. (Interfax, January 27) The signs are that the Russian government is preparing to work seriously with the new Chechen government. The "Council of Four" (Russia’s consultative body made up of the prime minister, the chairmen of both houses of parliament, and the president’s chief-of-staff) is to meet today to discuss Russia’s post-electoral policy toward Chechnya. (Interfax, NTV, January 27)
Yesterday, the Russian Security Council met to hear a report on the situation in Chechnya and to examine the implementation of agreements signed by Chernomyrdin and Maskhadov in November of last year. (Interfax, January 27) Under these accords, the two sides agreed on the following main points: resumption of the transportation of oil through Chechnya and joint guarding of the pipeline; resumption of rail communication through Chechnya; and payment of compensation to residents of the republic who suffered as the result of the actions of the Russian army. None of these commitments have been met, but this did not prevent the Security Council from assessing their implementation favorably. The Council stated that "the commission to regulate the situation in the Chechen Republic is working constructively… Air and railroad communication, and movement along the Rostov-Baku route have been restored." In reality, however, the railroad is still not functioning.
The Security Council could come to no other conclusions under present conditions. Realizing the impossibility of solving the Chechen problem by military means, Moscow has only one alternative: to make the best of a bad situation.
Communist Reaction to Chechen Elections.