Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 96

The new federal commission on the Chechen Republic met for the first time in Moscow yesterday, and, chaired by Russian Security Council secretary Ivan Rybkin, set to work on a detailed plan for executing the agreements signed between Russia and Chechnya on May 12. The commission decided to publish the documents and to ensure that copies go to members of both houses of the Russian parliament. Members of the Duma are already complaining that they have been left out of the loop. Duma deputy and Congress of Russian Communities chairman Dmitry Rogozin says parliament should have been consulted before the documents were signed. (Interfax, May 14) This is not the first time Russia’s government has sidestepped a largely hostile parliament: when Russia signed its treaty with Tatarstan in 1994, the government argued that because the treaty was not an international one there was no need for it to go to parliament for ratification.

The federal commission also decided yesterday to task the presidential administration’s Control Directorate with conducting an audit of how money appropriated for pensions and subsidies in the Chechen Republic was actually spent. (Interfax, May 14) The Chechen authorities have repeatedly complained that many if not most of Chechnya’s pensioners and welfare recipients have not been receiving the benefits to which they are entitled. There have been many reports of pensioners in Chechnya receiving their pensions in neighboring Stavropol krai.

Rybkin also presided yesterday over a meeting to discuss the details of an agreement between Russia and Chechnya on the petrochemical industry. Signature of that agreement, which had been expected to take place on May 12, was delayed for what were described as "technical reasons." Also on the agenda yesterday was discussion of procedures to enable Russian and Chechen customs agencies and law enforcement bodies to cooperate in the future. (Interfax, May 14)

Religious Confrontation in Dagestan Pits Traditional Muslims Against "Wahabis."