Recent developments confirmed yet again the correctness
of our stance. Owing to negotiations Gudermes was taken
by our army without a single shot of gun fire, followed
by Akhchoi-Martan. In August-September we discovered that
if the local population supports the Russian authorities
and the actions of the military, this leads to effective
measures to overcome the bandits.
Finally this means that first of all the lives of Russian
soldiers, officers and civilians will be saved. Secondly,
it guarantees mutual understanding with the local population,
the civilians of Chechnya and their support or at least
neutral attitude to facilitate the removal of the bandit
groupings at minimum loss and ensure security for the
citizens of the Russian Federation.
To transform this development into a reality, we set
six terms for Alsan Maskhadov on negotiations with him.
Negotiations will take a maximum of one or two days. They
must be absolutely open, clear and broadcast almost live
If Aslan Maskhadov agrees to these terms, he must address
the population of Chechnya and ask the people to help
the Russian authorities remove the bandits on the territory
of the republic. About one-third of the armed men subordinated
to Maskhadov in this case will at least stop firing on
our troops, if not help them. All this constitutes a way
to reduce our losses.
If Maskhadov refuses, the Russian authorities will address
the population of Chechnya directly, announcing that Maskhadov
assumed in the eyes of Russia and the whole world responsibility
for further developments. During a certain period of time,
for example, a month, we admit through established corridors
all the people from Chechnya who do not want to support
the bandits and all the refugees. Then all the aforementioned
six terms will be implemented by our troops independently.
And what should our troops do during this month? All
the operations should continue - the positions are obviously
maintained and consolidated, further moves are made in
the directions envisaged by the leadership of the army.
Certainly, in our view, mass-scale bombings of everything
and everyone are harmful and senseless. This does not
guarantee defeat of the bandits, but leads instead to
civilian casualties and destruction, which means that
the people will again have nowhere to live and work, once
Chechnya has been cleared of the bandits. In five or six
years we will again get crowds of the unemployed, illiterate,
but armed people ready for another war.
We should not conduct a wide-ranging assault in the mountains,
as a partisan war in the highlands in winter will lead
to mass losses in the Russian army, and no result will
be achieved. Here, even more than in Gudermes and Akhchoi-Martan,
we need to negotiate with the local population. As far
as we know, the elder of many highland settlements are
ready to support the Russian army.
Today the developments are such that we can reach our
goals in the Caucasus and avoid mass losses. But this
is only possible if military operations are correctly
balanced with political methods. We understand and support
the extremely hard and risky work of those Russian soldiers
and officers, who really facilitate normal life in the
settlements of Chechnya.
However, general developments there do not provide ample
security for our country from a strategic perspective
and are inherent with unjustified and wide-ranging risks.
All the politicians who neglect proposals to hold a serious
negotiation process should assume a large degree of responsibility.
The price of such responsibility is borne by the lives
of the civilians in Chechnya and Russian soldiers and
officers, lives that can be saved.