Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 12

In an interview with Reuters news service on April 16, Jorma Inki, head of the OSCE mission to Chechnya, stressed that Russian troops must curb their unregulated security sweeps in Chechen villages before peace talks to end the conflict can take place. He said that the house-to-house searches intended to flush out separatist fighters are dissuading thousands of internally displaced persons-including an estimated 150,000 taking refuge in neighboring Ingushetia–from returning home to Chechnya and from choosing peace negotiators who alone could help to find a political solution. “Now, if somebody tries to hold elections [or] to create some kind of constitution and legislation,” he said, “it is not enough because the political infrastructure is lacking.” Inki underlined that the main reason that Chechens are not returning to their home republic “is not economic; rather they are afraid for their family members” (Reuters, April 16).