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tjir5-3b - The Pitfalls of the Normalization Process in the...

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Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 5, No.3, Fall 2006 18 The Pitfalls of the Normalization Process in the Chechen Republic Emil Souleimanov* On 12 June, 2000, a decree was made public entitled “On the Organisation of a Provisional System of Executive Power in the Chechen Republic”, with Akhmad Kadyrov at its head. In the opinion of some commentators, that decree was intended to mean the de facto establishment of presidential rule in the republic. 1 Half a year later, in January 2001, Vladimir Putin signed a decree entitled “On the System of Institutions of Executive Power in the Chechen Republic”, signalling the definitive predominance of the concept of “managed Chechenisation”, and thus a retreat from de facto direct presidential rule. According to that decree, the provisional administration was to be transformed into the permanent government of the Chechen Republic with broader, clearly defined authority. The process of stabilising the social and political life in the republic was to have been accompanied by the creation of the attributes of democratic statehood – a constitution, the institution of a presidency and of legislative power (parliament). The ultimate goal was to have been the signing of an accord on the division of authority between the Chechen Republic and the central, federal government. The parliamentary election which took place last autumn was characterized by the Kremlin as the last step in bringing Chechnya back to the constitutional realm of the Russian Federation, thus indicating a clear stabilization of the situation in the republic. The present article is an attempt to explore the peculiarities of the process of institutional regime legitimization which has been taking place in Chechnya for at least five years.
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Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 5, No.3, Fall 2006 19 The Demographic Aspect At midyear 1999, just before the second Chechen war, in an attempt to illustrate the extent of the humanitarian catastrophe afflicting the country during 1996–1999, officials of the Russian Federation repeatedly made reference to the extremely small number of inhabitants in Chechnya. In the role of premier, Vladimir Putin spoke of readiness for political dialogue with the 220 thousand Russians and 550 thousand Chechens who had left Chechnya. 2 In order to legitimise the standing of the Chechen “exile parliament”, in the autumn of 1999 he stated that “parliament is prepared to take the initiative, particularly in light of the fact that there are now more Chechens in Russia than in Chechnya itself.” 3 We should bear in mind that the number of Chechens permanently residing in the republic until 1994 was 900 thousand people at the most. On the basis of simple arithmetic using these official figures, it follows logically that before the beginning of the invasion in late September 1999, the number of Chechens living in their homeland would come to between 300 and 350 thousand (if, of course, we do not take into account the victims of the first Russo-Chechen War).
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