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Russia: Former Commanders Resign From Chechen Government

Grozny, 10 July 1997 (RFE/RL) - Two popular former field commanders from Chechnya's war with Russia resigned today from their posts in the government of the breakaway Russian republic.

Shamil Basayev resigned from his post of First Deputy Prime Minister, at which he was appointed in April this year. Abu Movsayev, the head of the republic's security service, also resigned.

Speaking to Itar-tass, both men declined to explain the motives behind their decisions. Shamil Basayev however said that he was resigning "of his own accord" and he asked "not to stir up political passions" around his step.

Chechen Vice-President Vakha Arsanov later told Itar-tass that President Aslan Maskhadov has not signed any resignation requests. Arsanov said Maskhadov first learned about Basayev's resignation from the media.

Shamil Basayev became a national hero in Chechnya and a hated figure in Russia after in 1995 he led a bloody hostage-taking raid in the southern Russian town of Buddyonovsk.