Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 4 Issue: 34

It seems increasingly likely that no credible, genuinely independent watchdogs will be present as election observers for Chechnya’s rigged October 5 presidential election. The Moscow news agency Novosti put the best face on things by emphasizing on September 22 that observers from the Commonwealth of Independent States and from the Russian Federation Duma would be in Chechnya on election day.

Buried at the bottom of the state controlled agency’s report was an announcement by Aleksandr Veshnyakov, chairman of Russia’s Central Election Commission, that the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) had informed him that “they are unable to send their representatives to the republic.” He said that no reply to Moscow’s official invitation had yet been received from the Council of Europe. Human rights advocates in both Moscow and the west have called upon international organizations to boycott the election as a “farce.”