28. Nov. 2005
Grozny. Nov 28 (Interfax) - Head of a delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to Chechnya Andreas Gross has doubted the correctness of parliamentary elections in conditions when people are being killed and abducted in the republic.
The real authorities, law enforcement bodies, are intimidating people, so it is difficult to evaluate the elections in such conditions, even if they are technically correct, he said at a Monday meeting with Chechen President Alu Alkhanov in Grozny. He said that in Chechnya delegation members met ordinary people. They talked to three women - one elderly, one middle aged and one young who were going to vote and were all scared, he said.
Members of their families had been killed and the women did not know what had happened to their children, Gross said. The women were sure that law enforcement personnel were involved, he said. In his opinion, such actions undermine the foundations of government. Gross expressed willingness to help the legitimate authorities and to promote strengthening them, because only legitimate authorities can protect people.
Gross said that PACE representatives were given a chance to visit polling stations, meet people and study the situation. He found it good that they had come because they saw that Chechen people wanted to vote and voted. He concluded that people voted for a parliament that would support them.
Gross told Alkhanov delegation members saw the difficulties he was facing and were ready to help in forming elected bodies of government. Delegation member Tadeusz Iwinski spoke of several abuses discovered on polling day. «I saw United Russia posters on a school building. The school was used as a voting place. That was an offense,» he said. There were police officers at another polling station, he said. «Security issues could have been organized differently,» he said.
At the same time he praised the fact that there were observers from parties and individual candidates monitoring elections at the overwhelming majority of polling stations. «Nobody came up to us with any complaints during our visits,» Iwinski said. Meanwhile, Alkhanov said he had never concealed that «elections meeting European standards are impossible in present-day Chechnya. However, we are striving for that. We are holding elections, we are electing the parliament, and people are casting ballots. If I said that there are no abuses in Chechnya today, I would be contradicting my conscience and that is not what I have been taught to do,» he said.
Chechen President Alu Alkhanov said he would soon meet with former members of the Ichkeria leadership team in Europe. «I will soon visit Brussels and meet the so-called leaders of Ichkeria,» he told a Monday press conference in Grozny in answer to an Interfax question.
«There is no creation, development or democratic process without peace. We should promote a normal life for militants in Chechnya and people who happened to move to the West due to certain circumstances and misunderstandings,» Alkhanov said. He did not say whom exactly he wanted to meet. The president told a PACE delegation on Monday morning that law enforcement agencies should speak to separatist emissary Akhmed Zakayev, who currently lives in London. He said that Zakayev may return to Chechnya if federal law enforcement agencies amnesty him. At first, he will have to answer questions from prosecutors, Alkhanov said.
«If Zakayev is amnestied in compliance with the law and expresses his wish to promote peace in the Chechen republic, we will have dialog. Otherwise, the police, rather than the president of the Chechen Republic, should speak to criminals,» he said.