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
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 on television.
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
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
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.