Presidential aide Sergei Yastrzhembsky declared on Friday that there was no point in Chechen separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov pleading that there were no Chechen gunmen or bases on Georgian territory. The aide stressed that Maskhadov, when accusing Russia of aggravating the situation in Abkhazia, was resorting to his often-used Nazi propaganda methods of "'the worse the lie, the easier it is to believe.'" Yastrzhembsky then turned his attention to the fact that Maskhadov had not stinted in his praise of Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze, who "knowing Russia well, [and] her politics, has conducted himself very intelligently." He pointed out that Maskhadov and Shevardnadze had pursued the same line when criticizing Russia. "This, obviously, is not coincidental," said Yastrzhembsky. Moreover, Maskhadov's announcements that he does not know any "al-Qaeda" or bin Laden could not refute well-known truths, the aide added. He went on to say that Chechnya became a nest of international terrorism during Maskhadov's rule, aided by the outside world, including by bin Laden. "If Maskhadov has forgotten about this, then his memory could be refreshed by recent associates - such as, for example, Udugov and Yandarbiyev, who had contacts with al-Qaeda and other organizations," Yastrzhembsky said.
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