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March 27th 2003 · Prague Watchdog / Timur Aliyev · PRINTER FRIENDLY FORMAT · E-MAIL THIS · ALSO AVAILABLE IN: RUSSIAN 

Memorial’s poll shows only 12% of Chechens had intended taking part in referendum

Timur Aliyev, North Caucasus - Only 12% of the Chechen population had planned on taking part in the constitutional referendum, according to an opinion poll conducted by the Russian human rights organization “Memorial“ in Chechnya and Ingushetia between February 22 and March 14.

Out of 656 respondents, 440 people said they had no intention of voting; and 131 were undecided.

Memorial maintains that based on their poll, the official results of the referendum, in which nearly 90% took part and 95% voted for the constitution, cannot be regarded as a true picture.

According to the responses, most people (78%) think that conditions essential for freely expressing one's opinions have not as yet been established in the republic. And because personal safety is not guaranteed, people are afraid to voice their views, fearing reprisals from the authorities.

Sixty percent of respondents stated that in Chechnya, during these trying times, there is really no “freedom of speech"; 49% felt there was no "freedom of assembly" or "freedom of movement". According to 44%, people are "under constant pressure from the authorities."

Another 43% expressed misgivings about the credibility of the referendum's results since Chechens have no opportunity to oversee the vote counting.

The 656 respondents reside in 17 Chechen districts and refugee camps in Ingushetia. The majority, however, were from Grozny; and both sexes were equally represented as were various social classes.

(E/T)

  RELATED ARTICLES:
 · Memorial's poll (in Russian)

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