Russia

Democrats argue that Chechen referendum is premature

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Echoing an article published last month by Yabloko leader Grigorii Yavlinskii, Yabloko, the Union of Rightist Forces, the Social Democratic Party of Russia, and the human rights organization Memorial issued a statement on 17 March arguing that while a referendum on a new Chechen constitution must be held at some point, it is premature to do so while hostilities continue, Interfax reported (see "RFE/RL Caucasus Report," 14 February 2003). They propose a two-stage approach to resolving the Chechen conflict, in which a formal cease-fire and an end to guerrilla activities and "sweep" operations would precede a peace conference at which all factions would be represented. LF
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