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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

01/30/1997

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Moscow Treads Warily on Chechnya

Chechnya's new president-elect, Aslan Maskhadov, the decisive winner of this week's election, declared on Wednesday that Chechnya has already won its independence and now remains only to be recognized internationally. Russian leaders, including the ailing President Boris Yeltsin, have cautiously welcomed Maskhadov's victory, seeing him as the most pragmatic and flexible of the separatist leaders. Talks between Moscow and the new Chechen leadership may begin in late February after the new president's inauguration. While a final decision on Chechnya's status has been put off until the year 2001, Moscow will bet on Chechen passions dying down in time and will hope it can woo the republic back into the bosom of the Russian Federation with promises of economic development. Analysts, however, say Moscow may be underestimating the Chechens' resolve to be masters in their own house.

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