On April 4 and 5, the new secretary of the Russian Security Council, former MVD Minister Vladimir Rushailo, who has now been charged with general oversight over the situation in Chechnya, held lengthy talks with Akhmad Kadyrov, head of the republic’s pro-Moscow Chechen administration, and with Stanislav Il’yasov, prime minister of that administration. They discussed the restoration of the Chechen economy and “the establishment of a normal life for people in Chechen cities and villages” (Russian agencies, April 5).
At the end of last month, the news broke–in what Nezavisimaya Gazeta termed “a sensational announcement”–that Chechen young men will soon be drafted into the Russian military. This announcement was made by a deputy chief of the Russian General Staff of the Armed Forces, Colonel General Vladislav Putilin. Putilin said that in the near future, in six districts of Chechnya, there will be held medical exams for young Chechen residents of draft age (ages 18 to 27). “The health of youths of call-up age living on the territory of the republic,” Putilin noted with regret, “could be better, since they frequently suffer from tuberculosis, hepatitis and other diseases” (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, March 31).
Also in late March, it was reported that the oldest nationalist organization in Tatarstan, the Tatar Public Center (TOTs), had protested vigorously against plans to send more than 400 policemen from the republic to the city of Gudermes in Chechnya. Half of the contingent were to be Tatars, with the other half to be Russians, Chuvash and even Chechens (Segodnya, March 28). On April 11, it was reported that the Tatarstan contingent had arrived in Chechnya (RIA Novosti, April 11).
The Russian National Committee for the End of War and the Restoration of Peace in the Chechen Republic announced on April 7 during a meeting held in Moscow that it had begun collecting signatures in support of its call to end the fighting in Chechnya. The signatures will be delivered to President Putin. The committee, which was created only a week previously, contains representatives from “practically all human rights organizations in Russia, members of the State Duma and Federation Council, including Ingush President Ruslan Aushev, sociologists, and prominent Russian writers such as Viktor Astaf’ev, Andrei Bitov, Arkady Vaksberg, Viktor Erofeev and others” (Itar-Tass, April 7).