Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 80

Speaking on Chechen television, field commander Salman Raduev said that the Chechens, and not the Russians, were responsible for the April 11 attempt on his life. Raduev also accused Chechnya’s present leaders of caring less about the liberation of the motherland than about "the struggle for ministerial posts." In Raduev’s opinion, the leadership is concealing the true contents of the agreements with Moscow that are ready to be signed. The Chechen leadership has not yet reacted to Raduev’s statement. (NTV, April 22)

Raduev won world-wide notoriety in January 1996 when he seized hostages in the Dagestani city of Kizlyar. But unlike Shamil Basaev, now Chechnya’s first deputy premier, who led a similar operation in June 1995 in Budennovsk, Raduev did not become a national hero. The leadership of the Chechen resistance publicly condemned Raduev’s action. Raduev’s clearest conflict with the other resistance leaders emerged after the death of Chechen president Djohar Dudaev on April 21, 1996. Raduev refused to acknowledge the president’s death and created his own military unit: "The Army of General Dudaev."

Raduev’s final break with his erstwhile comrades-in-arms came after the signing of the Khasavyurt accords in August 1996. Raduev did not recognize the signed agreements and declared that the war with Russia had not ended. On the eve of the Chechen presidential elections, Raduev took the Penza policemen hostage. Despite the legitimization of the new Chechen government, Raduev has repeatedly threatened to commit terrorist acts on Russian territory. Raduev’s actions are providing an invaluable service to the Russian "hawks" by confirming their point of view that it is impossible to do business with the Chechens. Arguably, therefore, Raduev is now a greater inconvenience to Djohar-gala than to Moscow, which lends plausibility to his allegation that the attempt on his life was the work of the Chechen authorities. Indeed, on the eve of the Chechen presidential elections Dagestan’s Security Council secretary, Magomet Tolboev, told the Monitor that the Chechen field commanders intended to settle accounts with Raduev as soon as Chechnya’s new government was in place.

On April 22, a powerful explosion rocked the center of Djohar-gala. No one was hurt, but the security chief of Raduev’s "Army of General Dudaev," Suleiman Surkhanov, claimed it was an attempt on his life. According to Surkhanov, the bomb exploded right after his car passed the spot were the bomb was placed. (Itar-Tass, NTV, April 22)

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