Chechen diplomat Akhmed Zakaev, fresh from his stunning victory over the Russian authorities in a London court (see below), now explicitly rejects the possibility of revived negotiations with the Putin administration–even though he previously spent years pursuing such a negotiated settlement to the Chechen conflict. “I am certain that only a change in the regime in Russia can bring peace,” Zakaev told Chechnya Weekly in a November 14 telephone interview. He said that the Maskhadov government which he represents will probably not appoint a new representative in Moscow to replace Salambek Maigov, whom Zakaev harshly criticized for his decision to run in the December 7 election for Chechnya’s seat in the Duma. Maigov has “added one more to the list of Chechen traitors,” he said.
Zakaev had taken a somewhat softer position in an interview with correspondent Musa Muradov of Kommersant, published on November 14. Asked about the possibility of negotiations with Kadyrov, he told Muradov that “for us political contacts with him are excluded. Peace can be brought to Chechnya only by negotiations between representatives of the two conflicting sides: Russia and Chechnya.”