| 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
Tension will spill beyond Chechnya and will be felt all over
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
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
- 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
March 11, 2003