In a telephone conversation with the Monitor’s correspondent this week, Chechen first deputy prime minister Movladi Udugov said that: "On May 12, when the Russian and Chechen presidents signed the treaty ‘On Peace and Relations between the Russian Federation and the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria,’ Moscow recognized the independence of our state." In Udugov’s opinion, "the only thing now required is to give a legal basis to the real relations between Moscow and Grozny."
Moscow has categorically denied that, in signing the peace treaty, it recognized Chechen independence. Nonetheless, Udugov’s point of view is not without its logic. First, the very name of the treaty is significant: a peace treaty can be signed only with an independent state, not with a subject of the Russian Federation. Second, the document stipulates that talks will be held between "high contracting parties," a term which, in legal practice, refers only to independent states. Third, the document stipulates that the treaty was signed between subjects of international law, i.e., from the legal point of view, between independent states.
Udugov told the Monitor that, if the Russian side does not want to formalize relations with Chechnya, Grozny will be forced to establish diplomatic relations with other countries first, although it would prefer to do so with Russia initially. Udugov also said that Grozny already has preliminary agreements to establish diplomatic relations with several countries, but will act on those agreements only if Grozny loses hope that Moscow will be the first to recognize Chechnya’s independence.
Second Thoughts on Landmine Ban.