Chechen field commander Salman Raduev has claimed responsibility for the assassination attempt on Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze. According to Raduev, this was not a terrorist act but an operation against "Russian bandit formations in Georgia led by Shevardnadze." The operation, he says, was carried out by an organization known as "Wolves Without Borders." Contrary to reports in the Russian media, not one, but two of those who took part in the raid were killed: One of them — a Georgian — died at a safe house several hours after the raid on Shevardnadze’s motorcade. (NTV, February 12)
The Monitor has already reported speculation that Raduev could have been behind the attempt to kill the Georgian leader. (See the Monitor, February 10) Anything Raduev says has to be taken with a grain of salt: It has become something of a tradition for him to claim responsibility for virtually every terrorist act committed on Russian territory. There is no indication that Raduev is telling the truth on this occasion. Grozny has a vital interest in establishing neighborly relations with Georgia (the only country other than Russia which borders Chechnya) but the fact that people such as Raduev go unpunished may make Georgia wary of establishing close contacts with Chechnya. At present, the Chechen authorities have no means of neutralizing Raduev. The best they can do is deny his assertions. (See South Caucasus story for Georgian perspective on Raduev claim)
Chechen, Dagestani Leaders Agree to Join Forces Against Crime.