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Basaev Named To Chechen-Resistance Cabinet

Chechen field commander Shamil Basaev (file photo) 26 August 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Chechen President and resistance commander Abdul-Khalim Sadullaev has appointed radical field commander Shamil Basaev as first deputy prime minister in the new Chechen government, and "Kommersant-Daily" reported on 26 August.

Basaev was named to that post in early 1997 by Sadullaev's predecessor, Aslan Maskhadov, but he stepped down months later because of disagreements between the two men. He was reappointed acting first deputy premier in early 1998, but resigned a second time six months later, after which he launched an unsuccessful bid to impeach Maskhadov.

In the summer of 2002, Maskhadov named Basaev to head the State Defense Committee, a post he resigned from following the hostage taking at a Moscow theater in October of that year. Basaev has claimed responsibility for that raid and for the September 2004 hostage incident at a school in Beslan that left more than 300 dead. The United States government has declared him a terrorist.

Maskhadov's killing in March 2005 has left Basaev and Doku Umarov, whom Sadullaev named deputy president, the two most experienced and senior field commanders.

Sadullaev also reappointed as minister of information Movladi Udugov, who served in that capacity under Chechen President Djokhar Dudaev. Udugov served briefly as Maskhadov's foreign minister, and then as a member of the Security Council; Maskhadov fired him from that latter post in August 1999 following Basaev's incursion into Daghestan.

Udugov left Chechnya shortly after the outbreak of the second Chechen war and in recent years has lived in Turkey, where he ran the website.

Since the beginning of this month, Sadullaev has issued a series of decrees dismissing the government and envoys in exile he inherited from Maskhadov.

For RFE/RL's full coverage of events in Chechnya, see "Crisis In Chechnya"