Ombudsman Mironov: Public Outrage in Chechnya Is about to Explode

Speaking today at a press conference, Oleg Mironov, the Plenipotentiary for Human Rights in Russia, said, 'Public outrage in Chechnya is about to explode'. Mr. Mironov recently returned from a trip to the republic. He emphasised that, 'The situation in Chechnya is extremely tense and is close to mass civil disobedience'.

'The residents are sick and tired of military stations and roadblocks impeding normal commuting, even between neighbouring streets, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, frequent raids without reason. During such raids, the military detain all men who are then kept in earth holes for days, until cleared'. Mr. Mironov also said he was sure that the leaders of the country had no interest in the federal troops treating local residents this way. The ombudsman believes the real authority must be transferred to local administrations and the republic's own military units.

'At this time', the ombudsman continued, 'young Chechens have only two ways. They may either join the militia or the militants'. Mr. Mironov intends to address the Ministry of Education of Russia with the suggestion that Chechen youth be allowed to enter Russia's schools. 'They do not necessarily have to study in Moscow. There are schools in other cities and towns like Ufa or Saratov. Whatever it is, we must save the young generation of Chechnya from the second alternative', he concluded.

Mr. Mironov believes that now that the drafted Constitution of Chechnya is being prepared, it is time for the institution of ombudsmen to be entered in the supreme law. There is no such institution in any single republic in the Northern Caucasus.

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