The "Chechen Communist Party" held its founding congress in Grozny November 30 and endorsed Boris Yeltsin’s appointee Doku Zavgayev for election as "head of the republic." Its leaders say that the party is not a branch of Gennady Zyuganov’s Communist Party of the Russian Federation. The KPRF for its part supports the Moscow-installed head of Chechnya’s Committee for National Accord, Lecho Magomadov, in the parallel campaign for the sole seat from Chechnya in Russia’s Duma. It thus turns out that Moscow’s two top Chechen appointees have the residual communist apparat working for them in the electoral campaign. Zavgayev’s immediate predecessor as Moscow-appointed "prime minister" in Grozny until October, Salambek Khadzhiev, used to be first secretary of Grozny’s communist party organization, and afterward USSR petrochemistry minister. Zavgayev himself is the former communist head of the Chechen-Ingush ASSR Supreme Soviet. Disbanded in 1991, that chamber was resurrected by Moscow’s decision in October 1995 and now serves again as Chechnya’s "parliament."
Soviet-era practice also seems to be returning with the creation of a Moscow-controlled Internal Affairs Ministry of Chechnya. The figurehead Chechen minister will be flanked, in the tradition of ex-Soviet republics, by a Russian first deputy minister controlling the ministry in practice and reporting directly to Moscow. The appointee, Yury Plugin, says that he would create a security service as part of the ministry, using his experience of four years in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan where he "helped them create their Ministry of Internal Affairs." (7)
Russian Membership of Council of Europe Back on the Agenda.