Moscow's man escapes Chechen bomb attack try to blow up satrap

PHIL REEVES

Moscow

Russia received a reminder yesterday that the Chechnya conflict could again descend into war when an attempt was made to blow up the Moscow-appointed head of the republic by bombing his motorcade.

Doku Zavgayev is the third Kremlin-backed official to be the target of an apparent assassination attempt within two months in Chechnya, where threats of a fresh outbreak of hostilities have escalated because of Russia's plans to hold elections there. Mr Zavgayev, appointed as Chechnya's chief executive less than a month ago, escaped with minor injuries after a remote-control bomb went off near his motorcade as it swept through Grozny. Officials said that six people were hurt.

At about the same time, a convoy carrying aides to President Yeltsin's envoy to Chechnya, Oleg Lobov, came under machine-gun fire. Mr Lobov appears to have been absent. In October he escaped unhurt when his convoy was bombed.

Russia's military commander in Chechnya, Lieutenant-General Anatoly Romanov, is still in a coma after a similar attack six weeks ago.

The violence is further evidence that a political solution to the conflict is remote. The latest sticking-point is Mr Yeltsin's order that elections should be held in Chechnya on 17 December, when Russia goes to the polls to vote for the Duma, or lower house of parliament.

Mr Yeltsin wants elections to lend legitimacy to Russia's control of the republic, where at least 30,000 died after Moscow sent in troops, tanks, and bombers to snuff out its bid for independence.

Chechen separatist leaders say Chechen voters ought only vote after the Russians withdraw, and following an agreement on Chechnya's status. They have vowed to treat Chechens who take part in the elections as traitors. Mr Yeltsin's demand for elections has been approved by the Moscow-backed Chechen government, although the timing has alarmed some Russian negotiators. Mr Lobov hinted yesterday that the elections may be postponed.

Posts up for grabs include Mr Zavgayev's job as regional chief executive, although he is so far the only contender for the job. Mr Yeltsin hopes that if Chechens vote him into office, it will bolster a power-sharing agreement Moscow wants him to sign, which falls short of granting Chechnya independence. Mr Yeltsin said yesterday he was "extremely worried by the rising wave of terrorism" in Chechnya. Fire fights, shelling, and even air raids, continue; in one three-day period this month, 16 Russian soldiers were reportedly killed.

Mr Yeltsin's concern is understandable: the war in is unpopular in Russia and any flare-up before the elections may make voters less likely to return his supporters to office.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher A specialist primary school i...

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links