Tim Guldimann, OSCE mission head in Chechnya, says he is concerned for the safety of foreign observers if the OSCE and Council of Europe send teams to monitor the January 27 elections in Chechnya. The Russian Duma has already decided not to send observers. Guldimann says the OSCE and Council of Europe will decide whether to send international monitors at a meeting on January 16. (Itar-Tass, January 5) In this instance, a decision not to send observers would reflect security concerns and not, as is normally the case, fears that the elections would be undemocratic. In fact, Guldimann was quoted yesterday as saying that, despite the difficult social and economic conditions in Chechnya, there was "a real chance" that the elections there will be democratic. (Interfax, January 7)
Accused Gangsters Admit to Fanning Ethnic Tension in Estonia.