Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 33

In an essay appearing in the October 30 issue of the Bangkok Post, former Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov wrote, inter alia: “A year ago President Vladimir Putin offered negotiations between his representative and an envoy of Aslan Maskhadov…. That initiative collapsed because the Chechens were ordered to surrender their weapons within 72 hours…. [Such] clumsy diplomacy should not stop talks from getting under way. But to start them, a cease-fire is needed as a first step, to be followed swiftly by the Chechens publicly dissociating themselves from terrorist acts such as the Moscow slaughter…. A representative of President Putin must oversee everything in Chechnya: economic development, military action and efforts to alleviate the suffering of the Chechen population…. A single command accountable directly to Mr. Putin would rule out uncoordinated actions, improve discipline, strengthen the responsibility of those who are dealing with Chechnya, and diminish the carelessness with which some Russian commanders treat civilian lives.” (A somewhat longer version of Primakov’s article appeared on October 31 in Der Standard [Austria] and, the same day, in Russian translation on the website