If Chechnya’s "head" Doku Zavgayev is correct, Russian president Boris Yeltsin has consented to authorize Chechnya to "conduct external relations," maintain its own missions "in any country of the world," engage in direct trade with countries within and outside the CIS, and allow local conscripts the option to perform military service within Chechnya. Zavgayev told journalists that Yeltsin has included these prerogatives as part of Chechnya’s "special status" being drafted by the federal center. (11) The powers listed by Zavgayev are also among those demanded for Chechnya by Moscow-authorized peacemaker Ruslan Khasbulatov, the former chairman of the Russian parliament, who also seeks the post of "head" of Chechnya in the December 17 election. If actually granted, this would be a set of rights not enjoyed by any constituent republic of the Russian Federation, and thus a precedent-setting devolution of powers. Moscow would risk being faced with similar demands from some other republics. If a mere deception to buy tranquillity for the local and federal elections, the promise reflects the incomplete nature of Moscow’s military victory in Chechnya and its failure to translate it into political results.
OSCE Mission Gently Criticizes Moscow, Shows General Limits to OSCE Role.