Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 86

Russian Security Council secretary Ivan Rybkin and his deputy, Boris Berezovsky, were in Chechnya yesterday for talks with the leaders of the breakaway republic. Rybkin said on arrival that "Many, in both Chechnya and Russia, want to break the fragile peace" but "no one has the right to make statements aimed at wrecking the peace process, no matter how high his rank or how many stars he has on his epaulettes." (Itar-Tass, April 30) Rybkin’s remarks, like those of President Boris Yeltsin (see above), were clearly directed against Russian interior minister Anatoly Kulikov, who called in the wake of the Pyatigorsk bombing for Moscow to discontinue negotiations with Djohar-gala. At the same time, Rybkin is likely to have pressured the Chechen leadership to crack down on renegade groups and to restore calm to the region. Chechen first deputy premier Movladi Udugov said he was satisfied with Moscow’s stand and that the most important thing is to prevent tensions from escalating out of control. In the wake of the bombing, Udugov called for talks to continue and publicly dissociated himself from Vice President Vakha Arsanov who, like Kulikov, demanded that talks be broken off.