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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lost Chance to Woo Dudayev

President Boris Yeltsin had the chance to make Dzhokhar Dudayev his official representative in Chechnya more than three years ago but decided against the move, former top presidential aides said over the weekend.


During the attempted coup of August 1991, Dudayev quit his position as a general with the Soviet Air Force in Estonia and left for Chechnya. In September, Yeltsin sent two close advisers, Mikhail Poltaranin and Gennady Burbulis, to Grozny to talk to Dudayev.


"As a result of these negotiations it became clear to me that Dudayev was eager to work for the president," Poltar-anin said on the news show "Podrobnosti." It was even recommended that Dudayev get an extra star on his epaulets. "If we had given him that extra star, he would have been a serious ally."


But Poltaranin said Yeltsin was swayed against the move by Ruslan Khasbulatov, the Chechen speaker of the Russian Supreme Soviet.


"If Yeltsin had taken this path, we wouldn't have what we have now," Pol-taranin said. Burbulis, appearing on Itogi Sunday, confirmed Poltaranin's account.