Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 4 Issue: 37

If the Kremlin should finally decide to engage in bona fide peace negotiations in Chechnya, it will now have to negotiate not only with Aslan Maskhadov but with a wide range of rebel field commanders.

That is the view of Anna Politkovskaya, who told Radio Liberty in an interview last week that “it is obvious that Maskhadov does not control Basaev. And if he does not control Basaev, then he also does not control those of the field commanders who are under Basaev’s command or who lean in his direction. It is obvious to me that the future negotiations will be negotiations with the broadest circle of field commanders. They will be catastrophically difficult negotiations. There is no longer any hope that negotiations [only] between Maskhadov and the administration of the president [Putin] will bring good results….But who can say that history has not already seen such a situation….After the fall of the Taliban, a huge number of field commanders and political leaders met at a common negotiating table in Bonn.”