Putin Urges Chechens to Take Active Part in Forthcoming Referendum

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called upon Chechen residents to take an active part in the forthcoming referendum on the republic's constitution slated for March 23rd. The president's address broadcast on the Chechen TV yesterday was circulated Monday by the presidential press service.

"The referendum is an essential step towards coping with the devastation and establishing order," said Putin. "I'm convinced the Constitution adopted by the people lays a basis for political settlement in Chechnya. Once adopted, it will make it possible to elect truly democratic and trustworthy authorities.

"Today, the future of your children and grandchildren is in your hands as well as the future of the Chechen land," he stressed.

"The constitution will enable the Chechen people to restart normal life independently and to realise the broadest autonomy within Russia, that is being extensively mulled today," the president noted.

"To this end, the Russian Federation and the Chechen Republic will jointly draft and conclude a special treaty," the president pointed out.