25. Nov. 2005
Parliamentary elections in Chechnya
Can parliamentary elections be held in Chechnya under present circumstances?
Although such doubts are shared by many, we may only really answer this question after our visit in Chechnya. Basically you should also never forget that democracy is always an ongoing process which never ends, but may always find a beginning. Whatever the difficult conditions may be, if you really want and try hard you may organise elections which may get a certain legitimacy; but for this the citizens must benefit of the freedom to assembly and to express their different opinions without having to be afraid from the consequences. If this was the case in Chechnya I will ask different people there and we will try to evaluate these conditions.
What is Your assessment of the pre-election campaign in Chechnya?
I have not yet asked this question to enough candidates and citizens. I want to do this before I answer it myself.
Will the CE monitor the elections?
Our mission is neither a monitoring nor a election observation mission. Therefore we lack the time, the resources and the technical equipment. We are going to the region during the election time in order to get a first hand impression and in order not to have to rely on other sources only.
Are You going to Chechnya?
Yes, we will be in Grosny and at least in three other towns and villages.
Will You prepare a report on the elections for the PACE?
It will certainly be a memorandum for the bureau of the Assembly, which decided upon our mission. If it will be expanded to a report remains to be seen.
Many analysts believe that the new parliament will be too loyal to Mr Ramzan Kadyrov. Would it be good or bad for the Republic?
Certainly there will be Parliamentarian who defend the position of the deputy prime minister. This is not a problem. The real challenge is, that the Parliament should really represent the whole chechnyan society which has different tendencies and convictions. A Parliament has to be pluralistic and loyal to different people and authorities. The more this will be the case also in Chechnya the closer we may come to overcome violence, criminality and misery.
After Parliament is elected Chechnya will have all the attributes needed to run itself as a restored part of Russia - President, Constitution and Parliament. Will this be enough to have peace?
You can only make peace with your former enemies. Alone, among friends, you cant find peace. Decisive are not just the existence of these institutions. Decisive are there legitimacy, there representativity and there democratic quality. These qualities which are essential for any real peace process they may only get when they are inclusive and not exclusive for one political tendency only.
If this will be possible and realised depends of what will happen on Sunday and how the newly elected Parliament is willing to work also with those groups and organisations who could not make it in the Parliament this time.
Moscow explains continued violence in the North Caucasus by actions of international terrorism. Would You agree with it?
There might be some real international terrorists involved, but you can not reduce the whole conflict and crises to these groups. Focussing only on them means to overlook the home made responsibilities and own errors during the last 15 years. Moscow could have and would still be able to do many things better. You cant impose your own way of thinking in a kind of neo-colonialistic authoritarian way. You have to be able to listen also to those, who are willing to lay down the arms and use the political means and their democratic rights, based on the human rights and the principles of a pluralistic society. This ability remains still to be developed on different sides.
What's Your assessment of the situation in the region - in Chechnya, Kabardino-Balkaria, Dagestan, Ingushetia?
This question cant be answered in some short sentences. The fact is, that the crises is trans-republican, and cant even be limited to the region of the northern Caucasus, but also includes the south. Moscow has a great responsibility to avoid more explosions and an escalation of violence which may also hurt other regions of Russia and Europe. I regret to say, that I dont see the kremlins strategy which corresponds to these responsibilities and dangers. I am ready to try everything to offer my intellectual and political support to develop such a strategy. It has to respect the integrity of the Russian federation and has to exploid the potentials of the Russian Constitution for the real autonomy of the regions, which would allow to conciliate the interests of the different regions and regional cultures and the security and integrative interests of the Russian Federation. But this is only suainable when the autonomy respects the rule of law and the Human Rights and overcomes the different criminal shadow economies and the oppression of ordinary citizens.
Are You going to arrange more round tables to find solution to the conflict in the region like that held in March?
We are trying to realise a second Round Table which will increase the representativity and its usefulness for integrating the Chechnyan society. For such a process acceptable elections would be very helpful and hats why I am so interested to have an authentic impression from them.
What's Your impression of that experience?
It was a typical beginning in an extremely difficult context. You can always make it better and we will try to do this although until today the context did not become easier. But this is also the reason why we need such a integrative and conciliate peacemaking process so much - because there does not seem to be any other processes which have a potential to overcome the old fronts and cleavages.