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 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 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
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
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.