Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 2 Issue: 16

On April 12, presidential aide Sergei Yastrzhembsky roundly criticized some recent comments made by the former speaker of the Russian parliament, Ruslan Khasbulatov, an ethnic Chechen. One point of Khasbulatov’s which Yastrzhembsky attacked was the contention that “the situation in Chechnya is much more serious than the President of Russia and the federal politicians imagine.” The presidential spokesman also took exception to Khasbulatov’s claim that the Russian government has plans to make Chechnya an entity that is merely “equal to the average Russian oblast.” Yastrzhembsky also assailed Khasbulatov’s forecast that “a striving for political independence is slowly but steadily developing” in all the regions of the North Caucasus. To the contrary, Yastrzhembsky asserted, the “counterterrorist operation” in Chechnya as well as the creation of the Southern Federal district [headed up by retired General Viktor Kazantsev] have served to arrest the breakup of the region. Khasbulatov’s views, Yastrzhembsky concluded, are ten years out of date (Russian agencies, April 12).