President Boris Yeltsin’s spokesman said last week that the president’s January visit to Chechnya has been postponed and that no new date has yet been set. (Itar-Tass, January 8) Instead, the president is being urged by Deputy Prime Minister Ramazan Abdulatipov to hold a meeting at the end of the month with North Caucasus elders. Abdulatipov, who has responsibility in the government for interethnic relations, paid a one-day visit to Grozny on January 10 and met with President Aslan Maskhadov and acting prime minister Shamil Basaev. Abdulatipov said relations between Moscow and Grozny had gotten bogged down over intractable political issues and that the purpose of his visit was to get the ball rolling on developing Chechnya’s war-shattered economy. The necessary funds "can and should be found," Abdulatipov declared. (Itar-Tass, January 10; RTR, January 11)
Abdulatipov’s message was received cordially enough in Grozny, but will get a frostier welcome back in Moscow, where the Finance Ministry, keen to minimize federal spending, has so far done everything it can to reduce and delay disbursements to Chechnya. Abdulatipov said that a national policy for the North Caucasus is being drafted by the state commission for the stabilization of the economic situation in Chechnya, which he heads, and will be submitted to the president by the end of January. (RTR, January 11)
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