Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 24

On July 31, the website reported the results of an “express poll” recently conducted by the All-Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion (VCIOM). Asked whether Russia should continue the war in Chechnya or begin peace negotiations, 29 percent of respondents favored continuing military actions while a weighty 61 percent backed beginning peace negotiations. Thus supporters of initiating peace negotiations outnumbered opponents by more than two to one. In a discussion of the approaching December 2003 Russian parliamentary and March 2004 Russian presidential elections appearing in the August 1 issue of Nezavisimaya Gazeta, journalist Elena Shestopal observed: “In the opinion of a number of experts, it would be wrong not to take into account the Chechen theme. Today Putin has succeeded in removing it from the front pages of the mass media, but it could become influential in 2003-2004.”