Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 227

"We will form state bodies based on Islamic law. So-called Roman law is unnatural to Chechens. Many do not accept it and therefore it is often broken. We must base legislation on something people will accept. Islam is a suitable basis for the Chechen people. Otherwise, we will have an ungovernable armed mass," says Movladi Udugov, deputy premier and chief ideologist of the Chechen resistance. Udugov says he does not yet know which model of Islamic society Chechnya will adopt. In his opinion, any choice must be preceded by a thorough study of the experience of other countries. (Nezavisimaya gazeta, November 30)

"Secular courts will be gradually replaced in Chechnya by Shariat courts. The fact that canings are taking place behind closed doors instead of in the public squares is a temporary concession to Moscow and Western countries. We will soon be living in a classical Islamic state," Shamsuddin Batukaev, chairman of Chechnya’s Supreme Shariat Court, told the Monitor. Islamic law and Arabic have been made required subjects in Chechnya’s schools by presidential decree. Religious authorities are already visiting Chechen schools and warning students that if a girl above the age of ten goes outdoors in a short skirt, or without covering her hair with a scarf, she will be punished by the ten strokes provided for in the Shariat. (Groznensky rabochy, November 15)

Rapid transition to a religious state may be resisted by a significant portion of the Chechen population, now quite secularized after years of Soviet rule. "It is President Zelimkhan Yandarbiev who is helping us most in building an Islamic state. Unfortunately, some influential Chechen politicians are not helping us very much," Batukaev told the Monitor, perhaps referring to Prime Minister Aslan Maskhadov.

Lithuania’s New Government Installed.