World » Former USSR
Author`s name Ольга Савка

US administration does not believe in Aslan Maskhadov's death

It will be possible to change the situation in Chechnya only if federal forces capture Shamil Basayev

The information about the killing of Aslan Maskhadov, the leader of Chechen separatists, has attracted global attention. Maskhadov's death will deprive the separatist movement of Chechnya of the international support, a member of the State Duma security committee, Gennadi Gudkov believes. “Maskhadov was the basis of the international support, which made him look like a moderate political figure, who had the potential of leading the peaceful process in Chechnya. In addition, Maskhadov was the person, who was connecting so-called centers of independent Ichkeria (Chechnya) in Europe. His influence on those fragments of the Chechen movement was rather strong. Now, when Maskhadov has been killed, those centers have been left without their leader. We have every reason to suspect those centers of organizing terrorist acts in Russia. I do not think that there is another person, who would be capable of brining them back together. The elimination of such a figure as Maskhadov marks a certain stage in the Chechen campaign,” the deputy said.

Chechen leader Aslan Maskhadov has been killed - Photo Gallery

First deputy chairman of the State Duma committee for security, Mikhail Grishankov, believes that the funding, which separatists were receiving in Chechnya, can be considerably reduced now. “Maskhadov was the person, who actively assisted in wiring foreign money to Chechnya. The cash flow will apparently drop after his death,” Grishankov said. The deputy added, however, that Shamil Basayev was still the key figure amid the terrorists of the Northern Caucasus.

Dmitry Rogozin, the leader of the Fatherland faction (Rodina) is certain that it would be possible to change the current situation in Chechnya only if the Russian federal forces either captured or destroyed Shamil Basayev. “Maskhadov did not have the influence that Basayev has now. Aslan Maskhadov was more of a fake army leader,” Rogozin said.

Spin doctor Alexander Pikayev believes that the Russian administration will now be able to get rid of the pressure from Western institutions that demanded Moscow's initiative for negotiations the terrorist leader. There were certain politicians in the West, who thought that Aslan Maskhadov was still the legally elected president of Chechnya.

Despite their loyalty to Maskhadov, Western analysts had to change their attitude to the Chechen leader after his death. They now believe that Aslan Maskhadov failed to recreate the economy of the war-torn republic after he took the president's office in January of 1997. On the other hand, Chechnya was suffering from a wild outburst of criminality during Maskhadov's stay at power – kidnapping became a common practice in the republic. As a result, Chechnya as a subject of the Russian Federation became one of the most dangerous places in the world.

Foreign scientists of politics say that Chechen terrorists are not going to stop their subversive activities. Maskhadov's envoy, Akhmed Zakayev, particularly said that Chechen separatists would continue their struggle, even if Aslan Maskhadov had been killed indeed.

It is noteworthy that the US administration does not believe in the killing of Aslan Maskhadov. American officials are expecting a confirmation from independent sources. US media outlets say that pieces of Russian information about Maskhadov's death are rather contradictory.

Meanwhile, Russian Federal Security Bureau agents found personal archives of the killed Chechen leader. The archives were found in the basement of the house, where Aslan Maskhadov was hiding along with his three bodyguards. According to the official spokesman for the Regional Headquarters to control the counter-terrorist operation in the Northern Caucasus, Ilya Shabalkin, special agents found guns, grenades, several kilos of explosives and compact radio sets in the bunker. The agents were especially interested in Maskhadov's personal archives, which were also found in the basement. “Our specialists have already started analyzing the archives, as well as two laptops and video tapes,” Shabalkin said.

Russian military men also found a so-called Shakhid bomb belt of a suicide terrorist there too. As it turns out, the leader of Chechen extremists had one of his own.

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