…while Not Ruling Out Talks With Maskhadov

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 5 Issue: 32

In another hint that he wants to show at least some independence from the Kremlin line, Alu Alkhanov told journalists in Moscow on August 18 that he does not in principle rule out the possibility of negotiations with the underground Maskhadov government. “If Maskhadov wants peace in Chechnya,” said the front-running candidate, “if Maskhadov says, ‘I understand, I know and I see that this path is not leading the republic and the people to prosperity, quiet life and peace,’ why not hold talks with him?” Despite that qualification, Alkhanov’s expressed position clearly differs from that of Vladimir Putin, who refuses to discuss even the theoretical possibility of talks with Maskhadov.

Nevertheless, Alkhanov went on to reassure his audience that “I’m not conducting any talks with rebel leaders or other representatives now.”