Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 28

On September 24, Vladimir Elagin, Minister of the Russian Federation for the Affairs of Chechnya, underlined with some heat that neither Ivan Rybkin nor Maskhadov’s representative Akhmed Zakaev “has any real power to conduct negotiations on the Chechen problem.” “This is pure politics,” Elagin stated dismissively (RIA Novosti, September 24). Two days previously, the Russian Minister of Internal Affairs, Boris Gryzlov, had termed negotiations with the Chechen separatists flatly “unacceptable” (AP, September 22).

Writing in the September 24 issue of Moskovskie Novosti, commentator Viktor Loshak wondered why the Russian leadership had not reacted in any way to “an article by an extremely powerful political figure, a prime minister in the recent past, and, moreover, an article appearing in the government’s own publication, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, on 10 September of this year.” “One thing is obvious,” Loshak continued, “the publication of Yevgeny Primakov’s ‘Six Points on Chechnya’ broke the silence… He significantly opposed his own opinion to the official opinion of the authorities…. Primakov openly expressed a point of view heard more and more often in the West: Russia is losing civilian control over its military…. Primakov, as always, expressed the position of an entire stratum of the [Russian] elite.”