Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 69

Police in many Russian cities were on heightened alert yesterday in anticipation of possible terrorist attacks timed to coincide with the first anniversary of late Chechen president Djohar Dudaev’s death. In the event, the occasion passed relatively peacefully. A powerful bomb went off early yesterday morning in Nalchik, capital of Kabardino-Balkaria; there were no reports of casualties though the blast damaged a monument commemorating the republic’s inclusion into the Russian empire. (Interfax, Ekho Moskvy, 21 April) The day before, a mine was discovered under a railway bridge in nearby North Ossetia and was defused shortly before a train was due to cross. (Interfax, 21 April)

On the eve of the anniversary, both Moscow and Djohar-gala warned of the possibility of terrorist attacks by Chechen resistance fighters in adjacent areas of Russia. The head of Chechnya’s Department of State Security, Abu Movsaev, speaking on Chechen television on April 17, alleged that the Russian security services would commit terrorist acts in North Ossetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, and Dagestan on the anniversary of Dudaev’s death, and pin the blame on Chechen fighters. The Russian Federal Security Service dismissed Movsaev’s statement as "an insurance policy, taken out in case one of the Chechen groups escapes the government’s control." (Nezavisimaya gazeta, April 19) Investigators in North Ossetia and Kabardino-Balkaria are calling the attacks the work of Chechen fighters.

Chechnya was reported quiet yesterday. President Maskhadov stayed away from the ceremonies marking Dudaev’s anniversary; he has completed his pilgrimage to Mecca but is remaining in Saudi Arabia for an additional few days in order to hold talks with other Islamic leaders. (Itar-Tass, April 21)

Berezovsky Meets Basaev.