The documents, which were captured during the destruction of the headquarters of the leader of the Chechen separatists, Aslan Maskhadov, testify to the differences among the militants in Chechnya. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov spoke about it at a Tuesday news conference. He demonstrated two "decrees" signed by Maskhadov on dismissing two ring-leaders of the militants.
One "decree" dismisses "vice-president of the Chechen republic of Ichkeria" Vakha Arsayev for "practically not fulfilling his duties and not taking an active part in the holy jihad." By the other "decree" Shamil Basayev has been "removed from his post of the commander of the eastern front." The document says: "The actions of some commanders of the fronts, in particular of Shamil Basayev, inflict an irreparable damage on our struggle - these actions alienate and disunite us." Maskhadov is dissatisfied with Basayev because he "has entered the path of spreading rumours and gossips," of "directly sabotaging the instructions and actions" of Maskhadov and because he "drives a wedge" in the ranks of the militants.
At the present time Maskhadov is actively seeking an alliance with the head of a big bandit unit, Ruslan Gelayev, who, according to the data of the Russian Defence Minister, is now in the Pankisi Gorge in Georgia. The minister said that Maskhadov "is working out strategic plans" for creating "an Islamic independent state" in the North Caucasus.
As was pointed out by Sergei Ivanov, for hotting up instability in the North Caucasus Maskhadov from time to time calls upon national minorities in other regions for starting "jihad." Answering the questions of journalists, Sergei Ivanov said that he received "heaps of documents" about the activity of the Chechen militants in the Pankisi Gorge in Georgia (the place of the Chechen section of the Russian-Georgian border) and about "the constant flows of money and weapons which are meant for killing Russian citizens." However, the Georgian side does not draw the necessary conclusions, said Sergei Ivanov. Sooner of later, "the uncontrolled mass of the armed militants may turn the weapons in the other direction," said the minister. In his opinion, this "should worry Georgia." The Russian Defence Minister pointed out that the Georgian special task forces, now being trained by American instructors, would be ready to fight against the terrorists only "in a year or two years."
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