29-30 March 2005

"Chechen Society"
newspaper, #6

Rehabilitation of Militants and Parliamentary Government will save Chechnya

After the Completion of the Round Table on the situation in Chechnya of 21 March in Strasbourg, in much of the mass media it appeared that the position of only one side was heard - official Chechnya. In order to prove that it was not so, we provide the entire text of the presentation of the editor of "Chechen Society" newspaper, Timur Aliev.

By Timur Aliev

I shall probably be repeating the opinions of many when I state that the conflict in Chechnya will be resolved when the interests of all public and political groups are presented in a freely elected parliament.

Along these lines, however, I wouldn't wish to divide Chechen society into any groups - all of us are one people. I consequently consider, that the numerically small, but active and radical part of the Chechen people has not ceased to struggle. This means that the Kremlin policies for settling the situation in Chechnya should be changed. In the current situation, there is not representation for all parts of the political society, for example the militants - and as a result, tragedy has occured in Beslan.

There are numerous plans for peaceful regulation of the conflict in Chechnya, all of which, in some form or another, require UN involvement or conferring upon the republic independent powers in various areas. However, the main problem with these plans is that they do not suit all parties. They all assume that Russia should leave Chechnya having conceded a place to third countries - western. If it were not so, the requirements of the terrorists who seized the school in Beslan would have to be met. Their requirements is essence corresponded to the rules of "Khasbulatov's Plan" - which he has now renounced. In exchange for freeing the hostages, the terrorists put forward 5 conditions: Putin should sign a decree terminating the war in Chechnya, the troops must be withdrawn, Chechnya must become an independent state and member of the CIS, Chechnya must remain in the Ruble-zone, the peacekeeping force of the CIS must be brought into Chechnya and the Northern Caucasus.

However, during the capture of the school the silencing of the demands showed that no one was ready to change policies. This means that the Kremlin, on one hand, will continue to finance Chechnya for what it can get - loyalty of a part of the population of the republic. On the other hand, it will strengthen reprisals for the other part of the population which will probably result in irreconcilable opposition.

The only possible way is that of compromise which would provide for the participation of all representatives of Chechen society in the political life of the republic.

It should include complete amnesty for all militants, in particular such radicals as Shamil Basaev, with the simultaneous right to participate in the political life of the republic. It is clear that after all these terrorist acts in Russian and in the world, the possibility to negotiate with terrorists is practically impossible. However, to prevent the next "Beslan" in this case, it is necessary to make some concession to the radical wing of the Chechen separatists. Putin should give them a guarantee of personal safety. That their right to participate in political life would not become a farce, it is probably necessary to amend the constitution of the republic. The Kremlin should refuse the centralization of authority in the republic and conduct a parliamentary government. That is Chechnya should become not a presidential, but a parliamentary republic, and all the political forces of the republic must have the possibility to participate in the parliamentary elections. This compromise, first will exclude the opportunity of federal forces to influence life in the republic. Secondly, in a time period of four years a system of state government has been created in Chechnya which is registered in the Russian constitution. Governmental and presidential structures are created which must guarantee the realization of parliamentary elections. However, in this situation, there is another, not less important aspect, which interferes with the adjustment of internal dialogue in Chechnya. It would be a lot easier if the Chechen society was divided only into separatists and "Russians" - that's the people of pro-Russian sentiment. Today's problem revolves around the fact that each of these camps is divided in turn, not only into "moderates" and "extremists", but also into many other sets of other political groupings with a distinct expression characteristic of clans. Many political groupings would be received into the parliamentary arena for political activities - if it existed. It is obvious that, at least, in the beginning to parliament will only be submitted the pro-Russian part of society. Nevertheless, as was mentioned before, even this part of the political spectrum in Chechnya is not uniform. So the parliament could become such a place, where the various groupings meet for a regular exchange of opinions and dialogue - and the executive authority would be compelled to listen to his legal opponents. Finally, the parliamentary activity will bring about the results of, first, a consolidation of the pro-Russian part of the political groups in Chechnya and second, rapprochement of the pro-Russian centre and the separatist wing.

All of this is very important for overcoming the crisis and for the future of Chechnya.

Although, I don't exclude that the result of the compromise may not completely satisfy any of the parties, neither pro-Russian or Chechen. Therefore the given variant is most likely only an intermediate decision.

Translated by Sarah Sly
Korrekturen: Fredi Krebs

Mail to Andreas Gross

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