Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 4 Issue: 33

The leaders of Russia’s main human rights organizations announced on September 9 that they will not lend legitimacy to the October 5 presidential election by sending observers. Svetlana Gannushkina of Civic Action, Lev Ponomarev of the “For Human Rights” movement and Yury Samodurov of the Sakharov Center told a Moscow press conference that a recent visit to Chechnya had reinforced their view that the election will be a “farce.”

Ponomarev recounted how eyewitnesses had told him about the Kadyrov administration’s methods for producing a high turnout in the March constitutional referendum: “Interior Ministry officials came into a village several days before the referendum, summoned the village elders and told them, ‘if your people don’t show up for the referendum, we will organize a “zachistka” (security sweep).'”