Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 31

A Security Council meeting February 7-8, chaired by Boris Yeltsin, considered seven possible scenarios to resolve the conflict in Chechnya. Negotiation with Djohar Dudayev was, however, ruled out by Yeltsin. The Council tasked Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin to chair an interdepartmental commission that within two weeks would draft policy options based on those scenarios within two weeks. Chernomyrdin’s earlier preference for negotiations over brute force encouraged expectations that his commission would recommend a negotiated political settlement. However, in a speech in the Duma February 9, Chernomyrdin endorsed continuing military actions at the local level, greater reliance on Doku Zavgayev’s collaborationist authorities, and the permanent presence of Russian ground forces in Chechnya. A follow-up presidential instruction to take into account the full range of citizens’ proposals addressed to the Kremlin has further diluted Chernomyrdin’s mandate.

A Presidential Council meeting February 9, also chaired by Yeltsin, tasked Council member Emil Pain to set up a 12-member commission to work out yet another plan within two weeks. Pain has already complained of lack of access to intelligence and analytical information. A political scientist and specialist in conflict resolution, Payin is regarded as a moderate for having opposed the outright military invasion of Chechnya in December 1994. However, his prescription at the time — military support to anti-Dudayev lowland clans, division of Chechnya into two zones, and the blockade of the Dudayev-controlled zone — would inevitably have led to war and was hardly compatible with federalism.

Finally, the Federation Council February 7 approved overwhelmingly, and the Duma February 9 endorsed a proposal to create a joint commission comprised of representatives of both parliamentary houses, the presidency, the government, and the highest judiciary authorities in order to work out a concept for a political settlement of the Chechnya conflict. (10) All these initiatives seem likely to add to the incoherence of the policy process in Moscow without substantially affecting policy itself.

Moscow Equates Chechen Rebels with the IRA.