August 29th 2003 · Chechen Committee of National Salvation · PRINTER FRIENDLY FORMAT · E-MAIL THIS

Is there a Choice? Participation or Complicity?

Public Appeal of Chechen NGOs

On October 5th the presidential elections are scheduled to take place in the Chechen Republic.

Officials from the Russian Federation say that the elections will be the deciding stage of the political settlement of the armed conflict in the Chechen Republic. What’s more, it is as if this conflict doesn’t even exist: until recently it was labeled a “counter-terrorist operation”, and now it is described as a “measure to maintain law and order”.

Russian officials urge everyone to take part in the elections. The Chechen people are invited to vote, politicians to put forth their candidacy, and international organizations and the Russian public are urged to supervise the voting process and to endorse the choice made by the Chechen people.

We, representatives of the civic organizations of the Chechen Republic announce that we do not intend to take part in the impending events of October 5th in any way.

First and foremost, our decision is due to the continuation of the war in Chechnya. Tens of thousands of people have been killed, thousands have “disappeared”, and the murders and “disappearances” continue. The calamities to which the inhabitants of Chechnya have been subjected over the past few years are simultaneously comparable with World War II and the “Great Terrors” of Stalin. We recall the elections under the conditions of terror in the Soviet Union in 1937. The government elected then continued to annihilate their own people, and seven years of subjected our people, the Chechens and the Ingush, to genocide. We don’t want this to repeat itself.

Generally, today no one knows what path should be taken to end the deadlock of the war. This path can be determined only by the people of the Chechen Republic by way of the free expression of their will. Will such freedom to express one’s will be present on October 5th, and will it be possible to participate in such an election?

We can’t dictate our will to anyone, as everyone is free to make his/her own decision. However, everyone bears the responsibility for his/her decision. Let each person make this decision consciously, understanding all of its consequences.

In our opinion, the elections will not bring peace to the Chechen Republic if the supporters of independence are absent from the political process, which include the members of the Chechen Resistance. Experience in the settlement of conflicts in many “hot zones” around the world bears witness to the fact that the suspension of an armed conflict should precede any elections and referendums.

What is actually happening?

A census of the population conducted in October 2002 counted 1, 088,000 inhabitants in the Chechen Republic, although the actual number of the population only slightly exceeded 600,000. By way of this, the March “referendum” on the constitution was prepared, with the approval of hundreds of thousands of “dead souls”. Then, they turned amnesty into a farce: instead of giving the participants of the armed resistance the possibility to take part in political life, they offered them positions as Akhmad Kadyrov’s personal guards. Similar things had occurred in 1995-96, at which time the “elected” government had not hold out but for several months. In 1997, free elections took place in the Chechen Republic, the results of which were recognized by the international community and by the government of the Russian Federation. Today a new legal government in the Chechen Republic is not possible without the succession of power from those legally elected in 1997.

We turn to the Chechen people.

You are tired of war, many of you now agree with any way out, and once again hope for a miracle. This is your personal choice. You can choose not to take part in the elections. However, if you do go vote, know that they will once again deceive you. They will tell you that the elections will bring safety – but did the March “referendum” really stop the violence and terror?

We turn to those who have put forth their candidacy for the position of president.

You also hope for a miracle, but there won’t be a miracle. You will either be deceived, or you will be crushed. It’s already clear today, that all the power and “administrative resource” are on the side of one candidate – Akhmad Kadyrov. On his side there are hundreds of thousands of “dead souls”, and those who will count them. Yet, if you are unable to refuse to participate in the obviously corrupt elections, at least be honest with yourself. Yes, these won’t be clean elections, but let the source of filth become evident to the surrounding world.

We turn to the world community.

Don’t give this obviously dirty deed the semblance of cleanliness through your participation. In the Chechen Republic, not one of the conditions formulated by the Council of Europe for the conduction of free elections has been fulfilled. By agreeing to become observers at these “elections” you will take part of the responsibility for the crime upon yourself.

We turn to the Russian and International Public.

You are called to take part in the supervision of elections, and, perhaps, you are hoping for a miracle – but there won’t be one. Over all these years, together we kept record of all the crimes, not having taken part in them ourselves. Attentively keep an eye on what’s happening, but don’t sanctify the impending farce with your official presence.

They want to force us into complicity, and thereby rob us of our future. However, if today we all don’t allow ourselves be deceived, that’s already quite an achievement.

Signed by:

1. Imran Ezheev – Interregional Public Organization “Society of Russian-Chechen Friendship”
2. Libkan Bazaeva – Regional Organization “Women’s Dignity”
3. Minkail Ezhiev – Regional Branch of the “Society of Russian-Chechen Friendship”
4. Magomed Musaev – Public Organization “Call of Ancestors”
5. Koka Khachukaeva – Human Rights Organization “Pain of Chechen Mothers”
6. Shirvani Gunaev – International Joint Committee of Refugees from Chechnya
7. Tamara Guzueva – Public Organization “Face of the Future” (Chechnya – Ingush Republic)
8. Ramzan Didaev – Public Organization “League of Progressive Power of the Chechen Republic”
9. Lecha Ilyasov – Public Center “Latta”
10. Izrudin Aldamov – Public Organization “Lamanan Shovda”
11. Timer Aliev – Interregional Public Organization “Institute of T. Aliev”
12. Ruslan Badalov – Regional Public Movement “Chechen Committee of National Salvation, ” National Olympic Committee of Chechnya
13. Baudi Dudaev – Public Organization “Union of Forced Migrants from the Chechen Republic”
14. Zarman Makhadzhieva – Human Rights Organization “Nyiso”
15. Murad Nashkhoev – Independent Consultative Council
16. Zulay Bagalova – Cultural Center “Lam,” Honoured Artist of the RSFSR
17. Mate Tsikhashvili – Committee on Search of Lost People”
18. Lema Shakhmurzaev – Institute of Political Culture “LAMAST”
19. Toita Yunusova – Chechen Branch of Interregional Peace Organization “Echo of War” – Nazran
20. Zainap Gashaeva – Interregional Peace Organization “Echo of War”
21. Madina Magomadova – Association “Mothers of Chechnya for Peace”
22. Maya Shovkhalova – Public Organization “Iberia”
23. Fatima Gazieva – Co-Chair of the Union of North Caucasus Women
24. Magomed Musaev – Union of Artist of Chechen Republic
25. Tamara Kalaeva – Independent Chechen Informational Center
26. Yakha Taizulaeva – Public Organization “Umma”
27. Dik Altemirov – Assembly of Public-Politic Party of Chechen Republic and Ingushetia’s Movement
28. Koka Sardalova – Head of the Public Organization “Nokhchin Nanoi”

August 20, 2003

Nazran, Ingush Republic

Source: Chechen Committee of National Salvation



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