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In a 10 March appeal, subsequently posted on chechenpress.com, endorsed by some 30 Chechen NGOs and addressed to senior officials of the Council of Europe and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Chechen Committee for National Salvation Chairman Ruslan Badalov expressed those organizations' rejection of the "farcical" referendum the Russian authorities are conducting in Chechnya. The statement also criticized the "colonial nature" of the new draft Chechen constitution and election laws and listed specific articles of the draft that they consider discriminatory. It called on the Council of Europe's Venice Commission to take those shortcomings into account when assessing the draft constitution. The statement noted that the constitution does not recognize Chechen citizenship, although the citizenship concept exists in the constitutions of other subjects of the Russian Federation; that it discriminates against speakers of Chechen by designating Russian as the language of official proceedings; and that it denies the Chechen people the right of self-determination. LF