Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 195

There is confusion in Moscow today as to what Lebed’s ouster will mean for negotiations between Russian and Chechen leaders. Lebed warned yesterday that his sacking could result in disaster for the Chechnya peace process. Chechen opposition leaders also reacted with alarm to signs that the "party of war" is again in the ascendant. But the Kremlin is being quoted as saying that Lebed was not dismissed from his role as head of the Russian team negotiating with the Chechen opposition. It is not yet clear, says the BBC, which reported this news today, whether this is an oversight or whether Yeltsin intended Lebed to continue in the post. (BBC World Service, October 18)

Meanwhile, the newly-appointed Joint Commission held its first meeting in Grozny yesterday. It was presided over by the newly appointed co-chairmen, Valentin Vlasov on the Russian side, and Husein Bibulatov, deputy prime minister in the coalition government now taking shape, on the Chechen side. (Interfax, October 17) The tasks of the Joint Commission are primarily economic — first and foremost, ensuring that the population survives the coming winter.

Tough Sledding for Perry over START II.