Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 27

On September 17, the chairman of the Russian Central Election Commission, Aleksandr Veshnyakov, announced that a referendum on a new [pro-Moscow] Chechen constitution would be conducted on December 14, 2003, together with the elections of deputies to the Russian State Duma (RIA Novosti, September 17). The newspaper Novye Izvestia reported on September 14 that the Russian presidential chief of staff, Aleksandr Voloshin, had, on the previous day, invited Akhmad Kadyrov and other pro-Moscow Chechen officials to the Kremlin and, apparently, had then successfully pressured them in deleting a point from the draft Chechen constitution that had read: “only one who has lived continuously in the republic for ten years without leaving it [is eligible to be elected Chechen president].”