The carnage in Pervomaiskoye may have released a latent groundswell of public opinion against the war in Chechnya. In an indication that anti-war sentiment may indeed be growing, Nizhny Novgorod Governor Boris Nemtsov delivered to President Yeltsin this week an appeal calling for an end to the war in Chechnya and the withdrawal of Russian troops from the republic that was signed by more than one million residents of the Nizhny Novgorod region. In statements widely reported by the mass media, Nemtsov predicted that protest against the war would soon take on a nationwide dimension and that Yeltsin’s re-election hinged on whether or not he stopped the war and withdrew Russian troops from Chechnya. "The situation today is similar to that of the mid-1980s, when the Afghanistan war had come to be literally hated by the people," Nemtsov said. The Nizhny Novgorod regional legislative assembly additionally urged all regional legislatures in Russia to appeal to Yeltsin to withdraw the troops from Chechnya and to seek a negotiated political settlement. And, at a recent Yabloko congress, presidential candidate Grigory Yavlinsky said all democratic and centrist forces should come together to confront the war in Chechnya and the power groups who sought to use the war as a pretext for imposing authoritarian rule. (6)
Hostages Freed, but Attacks Continue in North Caucasus.