The Russian Duma, where Communist and nationalist members failed last week to win passage of a bill allowing Cossacks to carry arms, has instructed its Legislation Committee to draft an amendment to the recently adopted Law on Weapons in order to give Cossacks the right to set up armed units. (RTR, January 17) Security Council official Boris Berezovsky startled everyone last week when he expressed support for Cossack demands to be allowed to patrol the border between Stavropol krai and Chechnya. Berezovsky’s statement was immediately disavowed in Moscow by his boss, Security Council Secretary Ivan Rybkin, and Interior Minister Anatoli Kulikov. (ORT, January 18) But observers found Kulikov’s proposed alternative just as alarming. He told a press conference that, if the Chechen authorities fail to protect the 45,000 ethnic Russians believed still to be living in Chechnya, Russia should send troops back to the republic. (Itar-Tass, January 17)
Moscow Denounces Chechen Elections.