Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 173

Russian deputy prime minister Ramazan Abdulatipov, who has responsibility for nationalities policy, says there is no chance that Russia will persuade Chechnya to sign a treaty that treats the breakaway republic as if it were a subject of the Russian Federation. "After all that has happened, that would simply be impossible," Abdulatipov said in remarks quoted by Nezavisimaya gazeta. What is needed, in Abdulatipov’s opinion, is a series of qualitatively new steps achieved through mutual concessions and compromise. (Nezavisimaya gazeta, September 17)

This is the first time a member of the Russian government has cast doubt on the principle of Russia’s territorial integrity. Until now, the federal authorities have treated Chechnya only as a subject of the Russian Federation. There can be no doubt that Abdulatipov’s remarks will lead to a storm of criticism from politicians across the spectrum. Clearly anticipating this, Abdulatipov softened his statement somewhat by saying that he did not intend to imply any recognition of Chechnya’s independence. "If we had signed such a document in Dagomys, we would have been sent straight to Lefortovo [Prison] — in accordance with our laws and constitution," Abdulatipov was quoted as saying. According to Nezavisimaya gazeta, Abdulatipov’s statements are yet another indication of serious disagreements on the issue of Chechnya between the Russian government and the Security Council. (Nezavisimaya gazeta, September 18)

Russian Government Approves Oil Route Bypassing Chechnya.