Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 4

At the Russian State Duma on January 24, a roundtable completed its work in which residents of the Chechen Republic–Russians, Chechens, Dagestanis and representatives of other nationalities–had participated. One key question discussed at the roundtable was how to convey to the president and to the Russian public “the opinion of Chechen citizens concerning the situation in the republic, the lack of observance of Russian legislation in Chechnya, and the genocide of the Chechen people.” A decision was taken by participants in the roundtable to appeal directly to the president with a request that he receive a group of Chechen citizens, prohibit further mopping up operations and withdraw all surplus [military and police] forces from Chechnya. The elected deputy to the State Duma from Chechnya, Aslambek Aslakhanov, noted that appeals were currently being prepared to public organizations and to the citizens of Russia, while the Duma and the Council of Federation were being asked to conduct a joint session devoted to the problems of Chechnya. “If our appeal does not receive an answer,” Aslakhanov warned, “then we will conduct a large meeting in Moscow, we will gather Chechens from all corners of Russia, and we will state what is being done in Chechnya. We will inform all foreign embassies. We are being destroyed, our gene pool is being destroyed, while they accuse Chechens of being bandits without any documentary evidence” (Strana.ru, January 24).