Moscow, 8 October 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russian President Boris Yeltsin today removed the head of Russia's powerful Security Council, Ivan Rybkin, as Moscow's representative to Chechnya.
Itar-Tass said Rybkin will be replaced by Valentin Vlassov, previously a deputy representative to the breakaway Caucasus republic.
There were no indications that Rybkin would lose his post as Security Council Secretary, which he has held for nearly a year.
Rybkin's removal appeared to downgrade Moscow's relations with Chechnya after Chechen authorities last week expelled the entire staff of Russia's mission from their headquarters in the capital of Grozny.
Russia and Chechnya signed a peace agreement, but tensions remain high because the agreement left the issue of Chechnya's political status unresolved.