Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

IWPR: Chechen plan hammered out

Expand Messages
  • mariuslab2002
    Chechen Plan Hammered Out The recent discussions in Liechtenstein on the future of Chechnya were the most serious attempt yet to forge a compromise between the
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 2, 2002
    • 0 Attachment
      Chechen Plan Hammered Out

      The recent discussions in Liechtenstein on the future of Chechnya
      were the most serious attempt yet to forge a compromise between the
      warring sides.

      By Sanobar Shermatova in Moscow (CRS No.144, 30-Aug-02)

      A recent meeting in the duchy of Liechtenstein on Chechnya saw
      prominent Russians and pro-independence and pro-Moscow Chechens go
      some way to burying their differences, as they laid out a compromise
      plan for the war-torn republic.

      While it is too early to say whether the August 16-19 talks will bear
      any fruit - it had no official backing in the Kremlin - it was the
      strongest indication yet of a growing desperation for peace amongst
      different parties in the Chechen conflict, who have in the past held
      radically different views.

      The gathering took - organised in part by the American Committee for
      Peace in Chechnya, two of his whose co-chairmen are the prominent
      American politicians Zbigniew Brzezinski and Alexander Haig - took
      place over three days in a small mountain village in Liechtenstein
      and was financed by the government of the duchy.

      The committee felt the time was ripe for such a dialogue,
      particularly as many Chechens with previously divergent views, all of
      them horrified by the continuing bloodshed at home, have been coming
      together in Moscow. "There's a lot of rapprochement going on among
      the Chechens in Moscow," said Glen Howard, executive director of the
      committee.

      Some reports of the talks have appeared in the Russian press - what
      follows is a detailed account based on information gleaned from
      participants at the meeting, who do not wish to be identified.

      Amongst the delegates from Moscow were two former speakers of the
      Russian parliament, Ivan Rybkin and the Chechen Ruslan Khasbulatov
      and two parliamentary deputies, the well-known journalist Yury
      Shchekochikhin and the Chechen Aslambek Aslakhanov.

      Representing rebel president Aslan Maskhadov was his deputy prime
      minister Akhmed Zakayev. (Zakayev continues to represent Maskhadov
      abroad, while his new special negotiator Kazbek Makhashev is
      apparently talking directly to the Russians).

      The participants did not intend to make the substance of the three-
      day meeting public, but a controversy over the involvement of the
      Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky pushed it into the spotlight.
      Berezovsky, who took a lead in formulating Moscow's policy in
      Chechnya in 1997-9, has or had close links with many of the
      participants in the meeting. After a bitter falling-out with the
      Putin administration, he now lives in London.

      So when Alexander Goldfarb, a lawyer close to Berezovsky, turned up
      in Liechtenstein and said he was representing the magnate, the
      organisers asked him to leave. He did - but only after a protracted
      argument. The others were afraid that a link with Berezovsky would
      devalue their meeting in Moscow. Goldfarb was more closely involved
      in a separate meeting between Rybkin and Zakayev in Zurich.

      As the participants got down to business, they discussed two peace
      plans for Chechnya, the "Khasbulatov Plan", drawn up by Ruslan
      Khasbulatov last month, and the "Brzezinski Plan", outlined in an
      article by Brzezinski and Haig in the Washington Post in June. At the
      end of the meeting, they agreed to merge the two into
      a "Liechtenstein Plan" incorporating elements of both - although
      disagreements remained on two key issues.

      Khasbulatov's plan for Chechnya is based on the idea of giving
      it "special status" with international guarantees provided by the
      OSCE and the Council of Europe. It would be free to conduct of both
      its own internal and foreign policy, with the exception of those
      functions it voluntarily delegated to the Russian Federation.

      However, the republic would remain within Russian administrative
      borders and keep Russian citizenship and currency. The main guarantee
      of peace would be the demilitarisation of the republic, while
      maintaining Russian border guards on the southern frontier.

      Much discussion was given to the delicate issue of an international
      presence - whether of peacekeepers or monitors - in Chechnya. One of
      the Americans canvassed the views of the four visitors from Moscow on
      this. Their replies differed: one of them conceded the possibility,
      while another organiser said categorically that Moscow would never
      agree to it.

      Maskhadov's representative, Akhmed Zakayev, was besieged with
      questions. The others wanted him to explain the behaviour of
      Maskhadov, who while constantly calling for peace talks with Moscow,
      had also appointed Shamil Basayev - a man subject to an international
      arrest warrant - his deputy in his "state defence council"?

      If Maskhadov's supporters were so keen on peaceful dialogue, could
      they also unilaterally free 29 captive Russian soldiers as a good
      will gesture? Zakayev was asked. If this happened after the meeting,
      he was told, it would definitely strengthen the case for negotiations
      and demonstrate that Maskhadov was genuinely seeking peace. And why
      did Maskhadov give orders to kill those Chechens who were working for
      the pro-Moscow administration and police? Surely that just worsened
      the situation and sucked more and more Chechens into blood feuds.

      The others present immediately felt that Zakayev did not like these
      questions. He answered in a brusque and categorical manner. He said
      that Maskhadov had got close to Basayev again for propaganda reasons -
      to show Moscow that he controlled all his field commanders. There
      would be no good will gestures and the soldiers would remain in
      captivity. The national traitors who served Kadyrov would suffer
      punishment. And, said Zakayev to the Moscow guest asking the
      question, "What kind of Chechen are you?"

      However, it seemed that the organisers liked hearing these questions
      put to Maskhadov's envoy. After the meeting, one of them said the
      exchange had been very useful, as these were the topics, which would
      come up in official negotiations with Moscow. The Russians are
      vitally interested in how flexible Maskhadov and his supporters are
      prepared to be.

      After three days, a common version of the two peace plans was
      hammered out. However there was no agreement on two important points,
      which were dropped from the compromise plan: a model for Chechen
      autonomy based on the republic of Tatarstan and the idea of deploying
      Russian troops on Chechnya's southern frontier.

      The Kremlin has kept silent about the Liechtenstein meeting, which
      might be construed as a sign of progress. After a similar gathering
      last year in Zurich, Moscow instantly issued statements saying that
      the Duma deputies who had attended it had gone on their own
      initiative. Other deputies who were planning to attend the talks
      received phone calls from the Kremlin, warning them not to go.

      This time, it was different. Possibly, they realised that it was
      pointless to make loud denunciations and will wait and see what
      Aslakhanov, the deputy head of the State Duma's commission on
      Chechnya, reports to his colleagues.

      However, there is no sign as yet that the Kremlin will use either
      Rybkin or Khasbulatov as negotiators on Chechnya.

      For the moment, Putin is pursuing his own track of laying the ground
      for a constitutional referendum in Chechnya in November, with new
      elections for the head of the republic six months after that.

      Sanobar Shermatova is a correspondent with Moscow News. Thomas de
      Waal, IWPR's Caucasus Editor in London, also contributed to this
      article.
    • informationocean
      ... rily. During Soviet times about the same amount of troops was stationed in = Hungary from 1945 till 1989. There was no voluntarily delegated functions, =
      Message 2 of 2 , Sep 3, 2002
      • 0 Attachment
        > Khasbulatov's plan for Chechnya is based on the idea of giving
        > it "special status" with international guarantees provided by the
        > OSCE and the Council of Europe. It would be free to conduct of both
        > its own internal and foreign policy, with the exception of those
        > functions it voluntarily delegated to the Russian Federation.

        A country under the siege of 80,000 troops cannot delegate anything volunta=
        rily. During Soviet times about the same amount of troops was stationed in =
        Hungary from 1945 till 1989. There was no voluntarily delegated functions, =
        all was taken by the Russians. In its culmination in 1956, Andropov decided=
        everything including the fate of Hungarian opposite leaders - they were "vo=
        luntarily" executed. In paper Hungary was independent, but anyone who lived=
        that time knows that everything was ordered from the KGB office stationed i=
        n Budapest. Same thing for Poland, Chechoslovakia, DDR. Only Romania was s=
        omewhat different, because there was no Russian troops stationed there. Bot=
        tom line as long as the borders are monitored by the Russians, you cannot sp=
        eak of "free to conduct of both its own internal and foreign policy"

        >
        > However, the republic would remain within Russian administrative
        > borders and keep Russian citizenship and currency.

        Chechens cannot be Russian citizens. Chechens should have Chechen citizens=
        hip. They can keep the currency, but why. If they cannot have their own, t=
        hey should adopt the euro. Russia will heve euro also in the next 10 years =
        if they want to be serious about westernization and "belonging to the europe=
        an norms".

        The main guarantee
        > of peace would be the demilitarisation of the republic, while
        > maintaining Russian border guards on the southern frontier.

        You cannot have one sided demilitarization. Then it is not demilitarizatio=
        n but rather military occupation and then we are where we were in the last 3=
        years.

        >
        > Much discussion was given to the delicate issue of an international
        > presence - whether of peacekeepers or monitors - in Chechnya. One of
        > the Americans canvassed the views of the four visitors from Moscow on
        > this. Their replies differed: one of them conceded the possibility,
        > while another organiser said categorically that Moscow would never
        > agree to it.

        If Chechnya is taken out from the Russian administration de facto or de jur=
        e - as the Financial Times hinted -, they have nothing to say on it. Then o=
        f course Russian border guards on the southern borders are not needed too.


        > After three days, a common version of the two peace plans was
        > hammered out. However there was no agreement on two important points,
        > which were dropped from the compromise plan: a model for Chechen
        > autonomy based on the republic of Tatarstan and the idea of deploying
        > Russian troops on Chechnya's southern frontier.

        Chechnya can be part of Russia immediately when Russia announces that she T=
        RUSTS the Chechens to defend Chechnya borders from the south or from the nor=
        th and as a good will gesture withdraws all of her military from Chechnya. =
        Let's give Chechnya the de facto rights immediately and start to negotiate t=
        he de jure ones, that is null your three years aggression and pick it up at =
        Khasavyurt. Any other options are doomed to fail.

        János
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.