Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 29

The session of the [Russian] Security Council on Chechnya, which had been scheduled for September 24, has been postponed once again,” Sanobar Shermatova, a leading journalist, noted in the October 1 issue of the weekly Moskovskie Novosti. “The reason, as informed interlocutors have stated, is not only the absence of Vladimir Rushailo [the council’s secretary], who is recovering from an automobile accident: There are also simply a number of questions which need to be discussed but are still not ready to be examined. They have been preparing for this session of the Security Council,” Shermatova continued, “for a long time: A hidden struggle has been conducted around two persons–[Akhmad] Kadyrov and [Ruslan] Khasbulatov–who symbolize two different approaches to the Chechen problem. In Moscow, two centers of power are active, each of which has its own plans with regard to the future of this republic. Moskovskie Novosti has more than once written about the ‘hawks’ and the ‘doves’ and their under-the-carpet struggle.”

Recently, Shermatova revealed, the newspaper learned that “on the table of the Russian president lies a thick dossier with compromising material against the head of the Chechen administration [Kadyrov], collected by the power structures, with which Kadyrov has had very strained relations. At the same time, the drawing into the plans of the Kremlin of the former politician Ruslan Khasbulatov is being opposed, our interlocutors maintain, by the head of the EES [the electricity monopoly], Anatoly Chubais, who has been an opponent of Khasbulatov from the time of the well-known confrontation [in 1992-1993] of the Supreme Soviet of Russia (whose leader was Khasbulatov) and Boris Yeltsin.”

“According to Chechen sources,” Shermatova summed up her account, “the file [on Kadyrov] did not produce the desired effect on the [Russian] president. On September 26, a meeting took place in the Kremlin between Vladimir Putin and the head of the Chechen administration, with which results Kadyrov remained satisfied. One more meeting is to be held in the near future, after which the Kremlin can announce a whole package of decisions about Chechnya. The chief point of the documents will be the formation of single rule in the republic. The Kremlin continues to wager on the present chief of [the Chechen] administration. So the raid by the Gelaevites [in Ingushetia] has not by itself introduced any essential corrections into the plans of Moscow, but it did serve to significantly speed up the adoption of new decisions.”