Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 13

Russian officials are losing no opportunity to assert that Chechnya’s January 27 presidential and parliamentary elections will be undemocratic because the Chechen authorities are refusing to allow refugees to vote outside the republic. The Chechen authorities dispute the high number of disenfranchised voters (as many as 140,000) claimed by Moscow, and explain their refusal by saying they would have no control over voting stations outside the republic and could not prevent fraud. Observers suspect Moscow is laying the groundwork for a future decision not to recognize the elections in case a radical such as Shamil Basaev is elected president. Complaints about refugees are likely to be quietly forgotten if Moscow’s preferred candidate, Aslan Maskhadov, is elected. (Moskovsky komsomolets, January 17)

Russia Unveils New Fighters; Problems with the Old Remain.