Ingush leaders bowed last week to the decision of Russia’s Supreme Court. They have called off a planned referendum that would have asked residents of the North Caucasus republic whether the police, courts and prosecutors should be subordinated to the republic president, rather than simultaneously to the republic and to the federal government as at present. The Supreme Court had ruled that the republic authorities did not have the right to use a referendum in order unilaterally to assert control over an issue (law and order) that the Russian constitution assigns to the joint jurisdiction of the federal government and the republic. Ingush leaders made it clear, however, that they still want to take control for law enforcement at regional level and will seek other means of attaining their goal. If Moscow refuses to negotiate over their demands, they said, they may reconsider their decision not to hold a referendum. (RTR, February 26)
OSCE Mission Opens in Belarus.