Looking for Someone to Talk To

  • Share
  • Read Later
MOSCOW: The death of Chechen leader Jokhar Dudayev leaves Russia's war in Chechnya at a turning point. With Russia's June elections fast approaching, Boris Yeltsin's political future could hinge on negotiating some sort of resolution in the year-old conflict. Finding someone to negotiate with could prove difficult. Although Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev has claimed the mantle of Dudayev's successor, Moscow correspondent Sally Donnelly says Yandarbiyev's term as Chechen leader could be short-lived. "The conventional wisdom is that there will be a power struggle between various rebel factions," Donnelly says. "Some leaders want to continue the war until they achieve independence. Some want to try to make a deal with Moscow. Some are pro-Russian and want to reunite with Moscow. But if a leader does emerge who is respected by all factions, especially the fighters, Yeltsin will have someone to negotiate with." Even as Russia looks for negotiators, the fighting continues. Russian aircraft bombarded rebels in southeast Chechnya Thursday, while Chechen fighters kept up their nightly attacks against federal troops in Grozny.