–RUSSIAN-CHECHEN TREATY TO BE SIGNED IN JUNE?
Chechen President Alu Alkhanov said on April 14 that the treaty on delimitation of powers between the federal center and Chechnya will be signed in June. Details about the treaty remain sketchy: Novye izvestia on April 15 quoted unnamed officials in Chechnya’s representation office in Moscow as saying they had not seen it. But Alkhanov and other top officials have given hints about what is on their minds. Chechen Prime Minister Sergei Abramov told Novye izvestia that the treaty envisages Chechnya being given the status of a “region of intensive economic development” from 2006-2015. The issue of how Chechnya’s land and natural resources are used, he said, should be defined by separate agreements made on the basis of the treaty. Nezavisimaya gazeta on April 18 quoted Alkhanov as saying that the revenues from oil sales are not being distributed fairly and that he wants an oil refinery built in Chechnya that will have the capacity to produce 1-2 million tons of oil per year.
–COURT REJECTS NEWSPAPER’S APPEAL
Moscow’s Arbitration Court on April 18 rejected a suit filed by Kommersant challenging the legality of a warning issued by the Federal Service for Media Law Compliance and Cultural Heritage to the newspaper over its publication of an interview with the late Chechen rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov. The agency charged that the interview contained material giving grounds for and justifying extremist activity. Under Russian law, two such warnings in one year can lead to the closure of a publication.
–MASS PROTEST PLANNED IN INGUSHETIA
Ingushetian opposition groups are planning a mass demonstration for April 30 to demand the resignation of the republic’s president, Murat Zyazikov. The opposition had planned to hold the demonstration on April 28, but decided to postpone it for a few days in order to allow Ingush returning to the republic for the May holidays to participate in the protest. On April 16, the pro-opposition ingushetiya.ru website quoted opposition leaders as predicting that some 50,000 people would join the protest in Nazran. The website said the republic was “on the brink of a revolution.” Zyazikov, meanwhile, said during an interview on RTR state television that reports that the opposition was planning to seize power were a “fabrication” being put out “by individual media outlets that want to destabilize the situation today not just in Ingushetia but in the south of Russia as a whole.” Zyazikov predicted there would be no opposition demonstrations.