Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 86

The new Chechen resistance leader Zelimkhan Yandarbiev, accompanied by Chief of Staff Aslan Maskhadov, met yesterday with several media correspondents to refute allegations about his death as "wishful thinking" of Moscow and Grozny authorities. Yandarbiev suggested that negotiations with Moscow can take place if the withdrawal of Russian troops from Chechnya is "foreseen" — an apparent indication that actual withdrawal is not a precondition to talks. He insisted on direct negotiations — excluding Russian officials implicated in Djohar Dudaev’s slaying — rather than the mediated talks held out by Moscow. "If Russia is interested in solving the conflict, no mediators are needed. If not, no mediators will help," he observed. (Reuter, May 1) This morning Yandarbiev called via Itar-Tass (which had disseminated the stories about his assassination) for peace negotiations at any level with Moscow, "including those at the top level," in order to save lives on both sides if, as he said, the aim was "real peace in Chechnya, rather than pre-election propaganda." (Itar-Tass, May 2)

Conflicting Estimates of Moscow May Day Demonstrations.