Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 34

On November 6, a website of the Russian human rights organization Memorial, Hro.org, published the text of an interview granted by Duma deputy and former Russian human rights commissioner Sergei Kovalev to the German newspaper Berliner Zeitung. Asked what could be done to avert future terrorist incidents such as the recent one in Moscow, Kovalev replied: “It is necessary as soon as possible to begin negotiations between the government of the Russian Federation and the legal authority of Chechnya, President Maskhadov and the Chechen parliament [elected in 1997]. They represent legal authority because they were elected by democratic means… The negotiations should be conducted under the protectorate of the UN and the OSCE. The [status of the] conflict should be raised to an international level…. Russia already represents a totalitarian state. Solely for that purpose were invented such terms as: ‘directed democracy’ and ‘vertical of power.’ [Political] parties currently find themselves under state control, while the state is not under the control of the parliament. There is also a directed judiciary and a directed press. Call it what you want, but it is not a democratic state.”