A large part of the long-dead Supreme Soviet of the former Chechen-Ingush ASSR convened in Grozny October 24 and elected a new chairman, Amin Osmayev, formally releasing Doku Zavgayev from that post. The Moscow-selected National Accord Committee named Zavgayev prime minister of a would-be government, which on the 25th renamed itself "government of the Chechen republic." Zavgayev declared that the government would act "under the constitution of the Chechen-Ingush republic." Russia’s nationalities minister and chief negotiator in Chechnya, Vyacheslav Mikhailov, urged the Supreme Soviet and the National Accord Committee to negotiate a merger, implying that it would entail the absorption of the Committee into the Supreme Soviet. Chechnya’s communist party, allied to but not part of Gennady Zyuganov’s Communist Party of the Russian Federation, hastened to endorse Chechnya’s new would-be government. (6)
Osmayev, like Zavgayev, has lived as a political emigre in Moscow for the past four years. The Chechen-Ingush ASSR Supreme Soviet was dispersed by Dudayev and his supporters in 1991. Shortly thereafter Ingushetia, with Chechen consent, separated to form its own republic. The Chechen-Ingush Supreme Soviet’s resurrection under Russian auspices will inevitably produce speculation that some highly-placed circles in Moscow may consider reuniting Ingushetia with Chechnya, possibly as a sop to Chechnya if it recognizes Russian suzerainty. Zavgayev himself has in the past implied that he favors such a course, and Mikhailov’s remarks may be read as an indirect endorsement of the Supreme Soviet’s claim to legal-political continuity with the former Chechen-Ingush ASSR. Moscow could have dispelled such suspicions, had it made clear that the Supreme Soviet’s deputies from Ingushetia would not be attending it.
Concern in and over Ingushetia.