Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 169

Chechen field commander Salman Raduev has announced a temporary moratorium on the terrorist acts which he had threatened to carry out on Russian territory unless Dagestani leader Magomed Khachilaev was released from detention by September 13 (see the Monitor, September 11). Raduev said he was giving Russia another chance to see reason. “The national liberation forces of Dagestan have persuaded me that we can undertake military actions at any time,” he said (NTV, RTR, September 14).

Magomed Khachilaev’s younger brother, Nadyr, has told Nezavisimaya gazeta that it was he who prompted Raduev to relent. “Raduev was preparing to express his solidarity in an extreme manner. I sent emissaries to him and asked him to withdraw his threat and to do nothing,” Khachilaev said (Nezavisimaya gazeta, September 15).

Meanwhile, Russia’s federal government shows no sign of abandoning the present crackdown on criminal organizations in Dagestan. Russian Interior Minister Sergei Stepashin is said to be devoting almost all his time to the situation in the republic. President Ruslan Aushev of Ingushetia does not share Moscow’s view that the situation in the republic is under control. He said yesterday that Dagestan can be described only as in a state of “incipient war.” Aushev warned the federal government against the temptation to try to turn the Russian Federation into a unitary state. He said the republics of the North Caucasus, in particular, should be allowed to adapt federal legislation to fit local circumstances (RTR, September 15).

Aushev’s call is remarkable since it comes at a time when many Russian politicians, notably Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov and Sakhalin Governor Igor Farkhutdinov, have been grabbing headlines with warnings that the Russian Federation is in danger of breaking up into independent principalities. Aushev may have been responding to yesterday’s statement by Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, who called yesterday, as he has before, for Russia’s eighty-nine provinces to be reorganized into twelve large economic units. Luzhkov acknowledged that his proposal would provoke strong opposition from “certain regional leaders who want to remain autonomous” (Russian agencies, September 15).