Prime Minister Sergei Kirienko met over the weekend with President Boris Yeltsin in the president’s lakeside retreat in Karelia. Kirienko said after the meeting that Yeltsin instructed him to meet this week with Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov, who last week survived an assassination attempt in which one of his bodyguards was killed. (RTR, July 25) Kirienko said he would travel to Chechnya for the meeting and that he and Maskhadov would discuss ways in which Moscow could assist the Chechen authorities to maintain law and order in the republic. He added that Yeltsin had expressed his personal support for Maskhadov. The Chechen authorities responded with immediate enthusiasm to the idea of Kirienko’s visit, which is clearly motivated by awareness that Maskhadov represents a moderate force in the Chechen leadership and that, were he to leave the scene, the Kremlin would find itself without interlocutors. The Chechen authorities said yesterday that they had arrested several people on suspicion of involvement in the assassination attempt against Maskhadov. They repeated that the attempt was masterminded by foreign intelligence, though they did not identify any particular country. Russia has denied involvement. (Itar-Tass, July 26)
LEBED WARNS KREMLIN OVER TROOPS’ PAY.