The Russian media report that the influence of another Chechen government official who advocates a tough policy toward Moscow — First Deputy Premier Movladi Udugov — is also on the rise. Udugov, who currently heads the commission for negotiating with Russia, is to be foreign minister in the new government. Udugov is Chechnya’s chief ideologue today; it is he who worked out and provided the ideological justification for the creation of an Islamic state in Chechnya. Udugov is also the chairman of the "Islamic Nation" movement, which includes a number of political parties and movements in Chechnya and Dagestan. The movement’s goal is to restore Dagestan to its historical borders during the time of the Imam Shamil. Shamil led the fight against Russia in Dagestan and Chechnya in the 19th century, and created an Imamate — an Islamic state — which included the territory of contemporary Chechnya and Dagestan.
Also on January 1, the first Chechen passports (identity documents) were issued to a small number of leading officials. Eventually, everyone in the republic is to receive one. The passports are said to have been printed in either Britain or Lithuania. The information in them is written in Chechen and English, with Latin script being used for the Chechen language. Chechnya is also introducing new motor vehicle number plates. (Itar-Tass, January 2)
Ukrainian-Polish Rapprochement Gathers Momentum.