Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 2 Issue: 34

Reporting on a series of interviews conducted with Kremlin advisers and political allies of President Vladimir Putin, journalist Susan Glasser wrote concerning what Russia hoped to obtain from the United States in exchange for cooperating with its war on terrorism: “Russia’s demands [to the United States] range from explicit conditions, such as a promise that any U.S. military presence in former Soviet Central Asia would be temporary, to implied hopes that President Bush would back away from criticism of Russia’s war against Islamic rebels in the breakaway region of Chechnya” (Washington Post, September 23).

On September 19, the separatist foreign minister of Chechnya, Ilyas Akhmadov, issued an urgent statement in which, inter alia, he affirmed: “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Chechen republic of Ichkeria unambiguously protests against the ongoing Russian attempts to link the just struggle of the Chechen people for its legitimate rights and freedoms to the recent monstrous terrorist attacks in the United States of America…. Those killed and injured in the terrorist acts in the U.S. and the dozens of thousands of innocent Chechen civilians that have been tortured, raped and murdered by the Russian troops in Chechnya are victims of the same evil” (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, September 19).

It was announced on September 21 that the closed trial of five residents of Karachaevo-Cherkessia, none of them ethnic Chechens, who are charged with the bombing of apartment buildings in Moscow and Volgodonsk in September of 1999–acts that played a major role in precipitating the second invasion of Chechnya–would resume on September 25. No representatives of the press are being admitted to this secret trial (RIA Novosti, September 21).