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The Russian Democratic Party YABLOKO, March 11, 2003

On regulation of the crisis in Chechnya


The Russian Democratic Party YABLOKO thinks that the situation in Chechnya can only be settled as part of wide-ranging political process involving all interested parties.

The referendum on the Constitution of the republic and elections to the republican and local authorities can become a part of this process: however, special preliminary conditions, which are lacking at present, should be created achieve this goal.

It is impossible to organize in a short time frame a comprehensive discussion of the draft Constitution at republican and federal levels. The holding of a large-scale campaign during a war could provoke new acts of terror.

The long-term consequences of an unprepared referendum and the decisions adopted after this referendum can be especially dangerous.

They will aggravate the opposition within the Chechen community and will play into the hands of forces interested in the civil war.

Tension will spill beyond Chechnya and will be felt all over Russia.

It would also be wrong to bar international participation in the regulation of the situation in Chechnya, which was demonstrated by the decision to end the mandate of the OSCE assistance group in Chechnya and liquidate the DUMA vPACE commission.

By refusing to participate in discussions on the time frame and terms for holding the referendum and sending observers there, PACE not only reneged on its responsibilities for the actions of the Russian authorities, but also created the prerequisites for a serious aggravation in the situation in future.

Despite the clearly negative consequences of these erroneous policies, the movement towards political regulation in Chechnya should continue.

Real steps to peace in Chechnya can be summarized as follows:

- Provide a legal backing for the situation in the republic, especially in relationships between the staff of the interior, the security, and the defence ministries to the civilians, abolish the mop-up operations, tortures, kidnapping of people, robberies and all types of violence;

- Promote, with mediation from the federal centre, negotiations between all the parties of the Chechen community involved in the conflict;

- Use international prospects to curb violence, develop special rules and procedures guaranteeing long-term stability.

These measures can and should result in the organisation of a peaceful conference chaired by the President of Russia and involving all the opposing forces and interested parties. Only some odious individuals and military criminals whose guilt has been proved should be barred from the conference.

Such a conference, which offers the broadest possible framework for discussions and the range of participants, offers the best way of promoting the process of peaceful regulation in Chechnya. Only this conference can develop efficient approaches for continuing this process, including the organisation of a referendum and elections.

The conference on political regulation should become the beginning of a new era for Chechnya.

Chairman of the party

Grigory Yavlinsky

March 11, 2003


See also:

War in Chechnya

The Russian Democratic Party YABLOKO, March 11, 2003

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