23 April 2003, 16:41
Maskhadov, Aslan (Khalid) Alievich
President of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (CRI).
Alsan Maskhadov was born on 21 September 1951 in Shakai, Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic (presently Kazakhstan), in a deported Chechen family of the Alleroi teip. In 1957 Aslan with his parents returned to Chechnya where they settled in Zebir-Yurt, Nadterechny district.
In 1969 he entered the Tbilisi Higher Artillery College from where he graduated in 1972 and in 1981 he graduated with honours from the Leningrad Kalinin Higher Artillery College.
Maskhadov commanded a platoon in 1972-78. He next was a battery commander and chief of staff of a battalion in the Far East. In 1981-86 he served in Szeged, Hungary, with the Southern Group of Troops and then from 1986 in the Baltic Military District, first as commander of a self-propelled artillery regiment and from the autumn of 1990 as chief of staff of missile and artillery forces of the Vilnius, Lithuania, garrison and deputy commander of the 7th division. In January 1991 Aslan took part in the "Vilnius events" (the seizure of the television tower by Soviet troops).
Aslan Maskhadov chaired the officers' assembly of the division. A conflict with the new division commander, Frolov, on the threshold of the division's transfer to the Leningrad military district in the autumn of 1992 resulted in Maskhadov's resignation in the rank of colonel. During his service in the Soviet Army Aslan was presented with two orders For Service to Homeland.
Aslan Maskhadov returned to Chechnya in November 1992. He was at the head of CRI civil defence between late 1992 and November 1993.
In the summer of 1993 Aslan took part in raids on anti-Dudayev opposition in the Urus-Martan, Nadterechny, and Gudermes districts. An unsuccessful anti-Dudayev mutiny in November 1993 resulted in the dismissal of Viskhan Shakhabov as chief of staff of the armed forces and Maskhadov's appointment as acting chief of staff and, in March 1994, as chief of staff.
In December 1994 to January 1995 Maskhadov organised defence of the Presidential Palace in Grozny as First Deputy Chairman of the CRI State Defence Council (CRI President Dzhokhar Dudayev was the chairman ) and Chief of Staff.
In February 1995 Dudayev promoted Aslan to division general.
From June 1995 he took part in peace talks in Grozny to resolve the Chechnya crisis as a member of the Dudayev administration and head of the working commission on a package of military issues. In June 1996 at negotiations in Nazran, Ingushetia, Maskhadov, on behalf of the CRI administration, signed the Protocol of the Commission's Meeting on Ceasefire and Measures to Resolve the Armed Conflict in the CRI. In August 1996, after Grozny's seizure by Chechen units he repeatedly held talks with Alexander Lebed, which led to signing the Khasavyurt Accords on 31 August 1996.
On 17 October 1996 Maskhadov was appointed Prime Minister of Ichkeria, while he also remained Chief of Staff and Defence Minister.
Aslan Maskhadov nominated himself for president of Ichkeria on 3 December 1996. Vakha Arsanov ran as vice president. Maskhadov won the presidential election on 26 January 1997 gaining 59.1% of the vote and was inaugurated on 12 February 1997. At the same time he assumed the office of prime minister and abolished the office of defence minister he had occupied since late 1996. Maskhadov remained commander-in-chief of the republican armed forces though.
In January 1997 he changed his first name Aslan to Khalid (Aslan is not a Muslim name).
Maskhadov addressed the Parliament of Chechnya in October 1997 with a request to invest him with special powers for two years, including the right to completely or partially suspend Ichkeria's legislation appoint and dismiss government officials and issue decrees and orders that are not contrary to the sovereignty and independence of Ichkeria. The Parliament rejected this request of the President in January 1998.
On 3 February 1999, he introduced in the CRI "complete Sharia rule", suspended the lawmaking activity of the parliament and abolished the office of vice president dismissing Vakha Arsanov. Maskhadov created a State Commission on the Development of a Sharia Constitution which was chaired by Akhmed Zakaev, Minister of Information, Culture and Communications. He also formed a new republican legislature, the CRI State Council. The State Council was supposed to include opposition leaders Shamil Basayev, Ruslan Gelayev, Khunkar-Pasha Israpilov and ex-president Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev, but they refused to accept these appointments.
At its first meeting on 9 February 1999, the State Council confirmed Aslan Maskhadov as head of state and elected him chairman of the Council.
Maskhadov survived two attempts on his life on 21 March and 10 April 1999 in which the attackers used anti-tank missiles and bombs.
In the summer of 1999, he condemned the Basayev-led raid on Dagestan. Since the beginning of the second Chechen war, Aslan Maskhadov has been chairman of the CRI State Defence Committee. The Russian authorities broke off relations with him and, after Russian forces seized Grozny, Maskhadov went underground
On 18 February 2000, the Russian Prosecutor's Office charged Aslan Maskhadov with organising and participating in an armed revolt. Legal proceedings were instituted against him under Article 279 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. Maskhadov was also charged with organising illegal armed formations and attempts on the life of law enforcement officers. He was put on the federal and, in 2002, international wanted list. The Russian Prosecutor General's Office indicted Maskhadov on more charges of armed attack on Ingushetia and Grozny in the summer of 2004, including the hostage-taking in Beslan, North Ossetia. In September 2004 Maskhadov himself claimed he was not involved in the Beslan attack and condemned this bloody act of terrorism.
On 27 January 2001, the new official Chechen government (Kadyrov, Gantamirov) announced that the legitimate term of Maskhadov's presidency was over. Maskhadov himself refused to agree with that and claimed he had been elected for five years according to the Chechen Constitution. Besides, he said, his powers are automatically extended in time of war.
Aslan Maskhadov is the author of a book titled Honour above Life (Grozny, February 1997).
He married at the age of 17. His wife Kusama holds a graduate degree in teaching. There is a son, Anzor, who took part in military action during the first war and a daughter, Fatima. Their grandson was born on 4 May 1994 and named Shamil after Shamil Basayev. There is also a granddaughter.
President Aslan Maskhadov of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria was on 8 March 2005 murdered as a result of a military operation carried out by special forces of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) in Tolstoy-Yurt, Grozny district, Chechnya.
Ekspress-Khronika (Express Chronicles), No. 8 (611), 26 February 2000, p. 1.
Komsomolskaya Pravda, 18 March 2000, p. 7.
Kommersant, 21 April 2000, p. 1.
Kommersant, 22 April 2000, p. 3.
Kommersant, 27 January 2001, p. 1, 3.