Russian legislators hailed Maskhadov’s killing as a sign that Russia was on the right track in its anti-terrorist campaign, as they call the fight against Islamic militants in Chechnya and neighboring regions….
Chechnya’s Kremlin-backed president ventured that the killing would make no difference.
“Whether there is Maskhadov or not, the situation in Chechnya will not change,” the ITAR-Tass news agency quoted President Alu Alkhanov as saying. “Maskhadov was just a symbol in the hands of the terrorist (Shamil) Basayev. He had no other significance.”
Russia’s Kommersant daily speculated that either Basayev, a much-feared Wahhabi warlord, or his equally radical aide, self-styled Chechen State Security Minister Doku Umarov, would take over command of the rebels. In that case, “the terror will only intensify,” the newspaper said.
I expect that it will.