Details of Aslan Maskhadov's death remain unknown

Aslan Maskhadov's death is not going to result in an outburst of violence in Chechnya

Russian authorities released the official statement about the killing of Chechen leader Aslan Maskhadov on March 8th. The information about the leader's death was filled with rather contradictory details, which ruined the effect of such important news. Such contradictions gave rise to numerous versions about the killing of the Chechen leader and what consequences it might have for Chechnya and Russia.

As it usually happens, there are several official versions about Aslan Maskhadov's death - all of them originated from one and the same source. It was particularly said that Aslan Maskhadov was killed in an armed clash, when federal forces were trying to penetrate into the basement of the house, where he was staying. Then it was specified that he had been killed with a grenade explosion. NTV television network broadcast the footage of Maskhadov's body later the same day, at about 7 p.m. As one could see, the Chechen leader did not have any gunshot or explosion wounds. It is noteworthy that there was no footage of Maskhadov's bodyguards, which had been arrested after the elimination of the terrorist leader. It brought up another version – Aslan Maskhadov's followers betrayed him. 

Elimination of Chechen leader, Aslan Maskhadov: Photo Gallery

It goes without saying that in addition to the question of how Aslan Maskhadov was killed there is also a question of why he was killed and why it happened now. One of the versions says that President Putin was tired of listening to his Western colleagues urging the Russian administration to negotiate with separatists. Maskhadov was becoming politically active before he was killed in the Chechen settlement of Tolstoy-Yurt. Furthermore, Nikolai Patrushev, the director of the Russian Federal Security Bureau, was supposedly in need of a great accomplishment for his professional reputation. When the leader of Chechen terrorists was killed, Patrushev had a great opportunity to report to the president and save both his reputation and the official post.

As a result, Vladimir Putin was relieved of obtrusive discussions about the issue of negotiations with Chechen separatists. The Russian president can now say that there is no one in Chechnya to negotiate with. The Western society will have nothing left to do but to agree. Needless to say that warlord Shamil Basayev cannot be considered a negotiator.

Aslan Maskhadov's death is not going to result in an outburst of violence in Chechnya. The majority of Chechens did not consider him as a symbol of resistance. The people of Chechnya were ready to support him when Maskhadov was taking the presidential post in the republic. Maskhadov urged the citizens of Chechnya to struggle against Wakhabbi terrorists in the summer of 1998: tens of thousands of people came to the central square of the Chechen capital, Grozny, to support the president. The latter, however, was frightened with his own determination and called off the initiative. A lot of people still can not forgive him for it.

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Author`s name Olga Savka