The Chechen delegation to the Russian-Chechen commission on drafting a full-scale treaty returned to Grozny on September 27 without an agreement having been reached. In effect, negotiations have broken off. The main bone of contention between Moscow and Grozny remains the same: Chechnya’s representatives insist on the recognition of their republic’s complete independence, while Moscow is ready to offer Grozny "independence" only within the Russian Federation. But, as was said by Chechen first deputy prime minister Movladi Udugov: "It is nonsense to speak of an independent state within another independent state." Russian Security Council secretary Ivan Rybkin acknowledged that "it will be very difficult to reach common ground in such a situation." Udugov, in turn, called for talks at a higher (that is, presidential) level. (ORT, September 27)
Talks at the presidential level are not likely to break this impasse. In the unlikely event that Boris Yeltsin decided to abandon the principle of Russia’s territorial integrity, it would be to his advantage to do so through the medium of a subordinate such as Rybkin, thereby deflecting from himself the squall of opposition certain to arise. Maskhadov is just as unlikely to abandon the idea of Chechen independence, since such a concession on his part would be tantamount to political suicide.
Yeltsin Sacks Envoy.