Waiting For Maskhadov

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 5 Issue: 16

Hints continue to emerge from the administration of Akhmad Kadyrov about the possible “voluntary surrender” of Aslan Maskhadov, the head of Chechnya’s underground separatist government. Andrei Riskin noted in the April 16 issue of Nezavisimaya gazeta that “lately not one day has gone by without the head of Chechnya [i.e., Kadyrov] mentioning his former comrade….He repeats so often that he has not met with Maskhadov and is not conducting negotiations with him, that involuntarily you begin to doubt him.” Riskin also noted that Ilya Shabalkin, the spokesman for the Russian military headquarters in the northern Caucasus, recently let slip that “at present negotiations are underway with him [Maskhadov] for him to come forth with a request for pardon.”

At the same time, there are indications that Kadyrov is considerably less than fully confident that Maskhadov will in fact surrender. According to an April 15 report from the pro-Kremlin Novosti news agency, Kadyrov is offering a “large reward” to anyone who can help find the underground separatist leader. The exact size of the sum was not specified.