Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 4 Issue: 4

According to a Voice of America report aired on February 4, a Russian official has confirmed that nearly 40,000 of the Russian troops now stationed in Chechnya will be eligible to vote in the March 23 constitutional referendum. Abdul-Khakim Sultygov, Moscow’s human rights envoy for Chechnya, said that because these soldiers will represent 7 percent of the electorate–though the true percentage is likely to be much higher unless Chechen refugees in Ingushetia and elsewhere are allowed to vote. The overwhelming majority of these troops, of course, have no roots in Chechnya and never even lived in the republic until the army or security agencies stationed them there.