Kremlin Considering Amnesty in Chechnya

The Kremlin is looking into a possibility of declaring amnesty in Chechnya, according to a high ranking Kremlin official. An amnesty must not be granted according to an ethnic or a republican criterion, noted the source.

There are no arrangements whatsoever as to who, when and how is to be pardoned. The problem is yet to be thought over and legally grounded, according to a Kremlin spokesman.

The problem dominated a Monday meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chechnya's spiritual leaders. Khamzat Salmanov, President of the Peace, Mercy, Morals charity foundation, said Chechen spiritual leaders believed an amnesty could be granted for "the strayed" who had taken up arms not by conviction. "People want to return to normal life but do not know how to do that," said Mr Salamov.

Too many mistakes have been made in Chechnya over the past 10 years, including by the federal centre, admitted the president. Ordinary people found it difficult to decide whose side to take or were just scared, he said.

In case the constitution referendum outcomes are positive, Chechen officials will be able to raise the amnesty problem at the Russian State Duma, parliament's lower house, said President Putin. He promised his assistance in resolving the matter.