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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chechen President Maskhadov To Serve as Own Prime Minister


Chechnya's newly elected president, Aslan Maskhadov, does not intend to name a prime minister and will fulfill the functions of that post himself, Russian television stations reported Thursday.

Maskhadov was inaugurated president of the North Caucasus republic Thursday after winning the Jan. 27 election. He pledged to "reinforce the independence of the Chechen state," despite Moscow's insistence that it remain part of the Russian federation.

Maskhadov also told a news conference Thursday that "some ministers and department heads in the former Chechen leadership" might be included in the government.

He did not elaborate, but said his main rival in the election, former field commander Shamil Basayev, "will have equal chances with all front commanders who passed through the war for a place beside the president, to be his devoted aide."

Maskhadov's desire to fulfill the role of prime minister underscores his plans to control fully the rebuilding of the tiny, war-battered republic and tricky negotiations with Moscow on its future status.

The Chechen president also said Thursday he would issue a decree shortly concerning a prisoner exchange.

In Moscow, meanwhile, Mayor Yury Luzhkov, in a diversion from Kremlin policy, said in a newspaper interview published Thursday that Russia should let Chechnya break away and draw up formal borders with the rebel region.

"You cannot force someone else to love you," Luzhkov told Trud.

"Russia should let Chechnya go," he said. "We have to demarcate the border, sign all the necessary agreements and regulate entry and exit between Russia and Chechnya."

A potential presidential candidate when Yeltsin leaves office, Luzhkov has increasingly often expressed views on issues beyond his political jurisdiction.

?The family of late Chechen separatist leader Dzhokar Dudayev is to receive a monthly pension of $1,500 dollars, under a final decree signed by the outgoing president Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev, Agence France Presse reported Thursday.

The family, including Dudayev's widow and their children, will also received a one-time grant of $25,000 dollars, AFP said.

The money complements Yandarbayev's decision to award Chechnya's highest honor to Dudayev, who died in an April 21 bombing raid by Russian warplanes. ()