06MOSCOW6843, RUSLAN KHASBULATOV ON CHECHEN DYNAMICS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW6843 2006-06-28 09:28 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO2901
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #6843 1790928
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 280928Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8205
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 006843 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/28/2016 
TAGS: PGOV MARR MOPS PINR RS
SUBJECT: RUSLAN KHASBULATOV ON CHECHEN DYNAMICS 
 
Classified By: Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs Kirk Augustine. 
  Reason 1.4 (b, d) 
 
1. (C) Ruslan Khasbulatov, Yeltsin's opponent in the 1993 
White House standoff and now professor of economics at the 
Plekhanov Russian Academy of Economics, gave us his 
perspective June 27 on dynamics in his native Chechnya. 
Khasbulatov was upfront about his dislikes in the current 
political alignment (virtually everyone in power in both 
Moscow and Groznyy); he did not appear to have many likes. 
He had much to say about Shamil Basayev, with whom he was 
closely linked in the early 1990s; now he was willing to 
admit he had met Basayev, no more. 
 
2. (C) Khasbulatov noted that the current dynamic pitted the 
extreme Basayev, disliked by the population, against Kadyrov 
-- whom Khasbulatov regarded as odious -- and his federal 
backers.  That was lucky for Kadyrov; if the populace had 
other channels to express its opposition to Kadyrov and the 
Russians, it would.  As things stood, however, anyone who 
expressed opposition could be labeled a "Basayevist" and 
arrested or worse.  So the people, intimidated, remained 
silent and passive. 
 
3. (C) Khasbulatov claimed that Basayev was working for the 
KGB in 1993 when he transited Russia and entered Abkhazia to 
fight the Georgians.  Khasbulatov also claimed that Basayev 
to this day had no religious convictions, and that his 
invasion of Dagestan in 1999, along with the Jordanian 
Jihadist al-Khattab, was done for a purely financial motive: 
he was paid USD 10 million.  Khasbulatov, learning of the 
plans, had sent an ex-fighter trusted by Basayev to try to 
dissuade Basayev from the disastrous move.  Khasbulatov said, 
"The man later told me that Basayev replied, 'Ruslan will 
never give bad advice, but it comes too late:  I've already 
taken the money.'" 
 
4. (C) Khasbulatov believed Basayev long ago gave up hope of 
achieving independence for Chechnya or a pan-Caucasian 
Islamic state.  But Basayev had no other path, and would keep 
fighting until the end.  It had become a way of life for him. 
  Therein lay the danger:  Kadyrov's forces were nothing more 
than mercenaries.  That allowed Russia to control Kadyrov, 
since Moscow could cut off Kadyrov's funding at any time, and 
his fighters would disappear.  But it also meant that the 
fighters could defect to Basayev any time he offered them 
enough money.  For that reason, Khasbulatov believed Federal 
forces would have to stay in Chechnya for a long time to come. 
 
5. (C) Khasbulatov repeatedly called for international 
conferences in Groznyy -- on economic reconstruction, 
education, health, and environmental rehabilitation -- to 
focus and increase international aid as part of the healing 
process.  He believed the UN was "inert" on Chechnya, and 
said he had told Kofi Annan so himself.  He believed Chechnya 
needed more international attention, despite Russian policy 
that defines the issue as internal; Russian-backed 
"reconstruction" efforts were a sham, in his view. 
 
6. (C) Comment:  Khasbulatov, slight, handsome and courtly, 
sees himself as the elder statesman of the Chechen 
intelligentsia.  He railed against the "talentless," "empty" 
people, Russians and Chechens alike, to whom Moscow has over 
the years entrusted the solution of the Chechen problem.  He 
was especially scathing about Russia's post-Soviet security 
services, whom, he said, Basayev has penetrated.  He was 
equally unsparing in his criticism of late Chechen president 
Aslan Maskhadov.  Khasbulatov clearly believes the majority 
of the Chechen population thinks as he does and has no 
sympathy for either the pro-Russians or the insurgents.  The 
conferences he proposes could potentially be useful -- but if 
Russians are afraid to go to Chechnya, it is not likely that 
foreign conference-goers will be willing to go there, either. 
 
BURNS

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