Russian Security Council Secretary Ivan Rybkin has criticized the Russian government in general, and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin in particular, for Russia’s failure to honor its financial commitments to Chechnya. In a television interview marking President Aslan Maskhadov’s first year in office, Rybkin warned that, if Russia continues to default on its commitments, Moscow could face "most serious problems" throughout the North Caucasus. He said Russia has fulfilled its promises on pensions and on oil infrastructure and that the Russian oil industry is actively helping to restore Chechnya’s economy. In other respects, he said, lack of political will means that teachers and nurses are going without pay. In an unusual move, Rybkin blamed Chernomyrdin for "losing interest" in Chechnya. "He believes the situation there is quite tolerable," Rybkin said, but this is a "profound error." Rybkin said that, because of economic difficulties, Maskhadov "is losing the trust of the electorate and is forced to enter into all sorts of coalitions, including with [acting prime minister] Shamil Basaev." (RTR, February 12)
Government to Curtail Electrical Power to Military.