Zakaev Resigns as ChRI Foreign Minister

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 8 Issue: 45

The separatist Chechenpress news agency on November 20 quoted the Foreign Ministry of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (ChRI) as saying that ChRI Foreign Minister Akhmed Zakaev had submitted his resignation to the Chairman of the ChRI Parliament, Zhalauddin Saralyapov. The ChRI parliament’s press service confirmed it had received Zakaev’s resignation, Chechenpress reported. Zakaev’s resignation follows the emergence of a split between Dokka Umarov, the ChRI president and Chechen rebel leader, and the ChRI parliament over Umarov’s proclamation last month of a “Caucasus Emirate” (Chechnya Weekly, November 1, 8 and 15; October 25).

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on November 20 quoted Zakaev as saying by phone from London that he would not be able to continue as ChRI foreign minister until the ChRI parliament forms a new cabinet and appoints a new prime minister. “I think that everything that is happening in the state should have a legitimate foundation; everything should be done in compliance with the law, and in this case, I think that until the parliament forms a new cabinet of ministers, neither I nor the other members of the cabinet can fulfill their duties and professional obligations,” Zakaev told RFE/RL. He said that his resignation “by no means” should be viewed “as a departure from the fight for our independence, our freedom, and for the recognition of our state.”

Chechnya is currently “occupied” but “not conquered,” Zakaev added. “That’s why people today are waiting for an opportunity, but they haven’t accepted this situation by any means. I am absolutely confident that the Chechen people have good reason to think that soon in the future they will gain independence and live in a free, democratic country,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chechenpress on November 20 published an appeal from the ChRI parliament to the Chechen people, which charged that a coup had been plotted against the ChRI government. While the statement did not specifically name the alleged coup plot’s perpetrators, it identified them as “those who for around ten years” challenged the authority of both the separatist parliament and Aslan Maskhadov, the late Chechen president and rebel leader. In a statement earlier this month, the ChRI parliament claimed that a group led by rebel ideologues Movladi Udugov and his brother Isa Umarov was behind the proclamation of a “Caucasian Emirate.” It accused this group of “ideological sabotage” during the period between the two Chechen wars and of “unleashing” the second Chechen war (Chechnya Weekly, November 15).