On February 23, Russian President Boris Yeltsin received the presidents of North Ossetia and Ingushetia, Aleksandr Dzasokhov and Ruslan Aushev. Yeltsin congratulated Dzasokhov on winning the election in North Ossetia, and expressed the hope that there would be a reduction of tensions throughout the North Caucasus. Aushev said he told Yeltsin that the economic agreements signed with Chechnya are not being observed, and that Yeltsin promised to oversee the matter personally.
The main result of the meeting may be the fact that Yeltsin once again repeated his desire to visit Chechnya. Moreover, he supported Dzasokhov’s proposal that the leaders of all of Russia’s North Caucasus republics should visit Grozny. (RTR, February 23)
The signs suggest that the Kremlin has stopped looking at Chechnya as an isolated problem. It is instead trying to see the situation in that republic in the light of what is happening in other republics in the region. This approach is the cornerstone of the recently-approved draft Russian Nationalities Policy in the North Caucasus worked out by the Ministry of Nationalities and the Russian Security Council. Yeltsin is due to hold a meeting on March 10 with elders and dignitaries from all over the North Caucasus to discuss ways of stabilizing the situation in the region.
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