“Today in Chechnya there is no one with whom to hold negotiations. There is no opposite side in the sense of something organized from the political or juridical-legal point of view. It is simply a rabble! There is already not a conflict there. All of this talk of a conflict is stirred up by Boris Abramovich [Berezovsky] and the West in order to push through the idea of [an opposite] side, and also by some people from Putin’s entourage who have lost reason and conscience. In reality, there are bands of criminals, bandits and terrorists there. And they are being fed for the purpose of a political coup. The only thing that such negotiations can lead to is the dissolution of the Russian Federation.”— Russian television commentator Mikhail Leontyev in an interview posted on the Kavkaz-forum.ru website on November 7.
“Our task is to make it so that there aren’t any armed conflicts, so that combat operations end, so that people stop dying, so that we don’t have to think about boy amputees, about where to get artificial limbs for them and with what money, so that we don’t have to speak every day with parents who haven’t had news of their sons fighting in Chechnya for six months. You know, we women of iron also have limits to our strength.”—Valentina Melnikova, head of Union of Soldiers’ Mothers Committees of Russia, in an interview posted by the Kreml.org website on November 5. The group, which has offered to mediate between the Russian government and Chechnya’s separatists, held the founding congress of its new political party, United People’s Party of Soldiers’ Mothers, on November 6-7. Melnikova was elected the party’s chairwoman.