A Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) session on Wednesday will discuss a report to Chechnya following the latest visit to the region by a PACE delegation led by Lord Judd.
The chairman of the State Duma's international affairs committee and head of the Russian delegation to the PACE winter session, Dmitri Rogozin, has already said that out of the amendments to the document proposed by Russia, only one insignificant change was made during a session of the political commission on Tuesday.
Accordingly, PACE will vote on Lord Judd's proposal to postpone the referendum in Chechnya.
Rogozin fiercely criticised this position. In particular, he said that if the Russian amendments were not adopted, then the Parliamentary Assembly would be betraying all the work on the constitutional process that it had actively supported. According to him, this is a vital issue for the political settlement in Chechnya, the formation of a legitimate basis for future elections and the gradual hand-over of power from the emergency administration to civil administrations. Any attempt to postpone the referendum was tantamount to disrupting the political process, the Russian parliamentarian said.
Rogozin also announced at the political commission session that if Lord Judd's text were to be upheld without any account for the Russian amendment to postpone the referedum, then the vote in Chechnya would go ahead nonetheless, as Russia was not obliged to heed the opinion of the Council of Europe on the matter of a referendum in a federation subject.
Moreover, the head of the Russian delegation said that Judd, as the purveyor of the report, "would lose his legitimacy in the eyes of Russian public opinion and in the eyes of the Russian official delegation to PACE." If Judd's recommendations are adopted during the vote on Chechnya, then the Russian PACE delegation will stop co-operating with Lord Judd in his capacity as a report deliverer and will request someone else to take his place. If this does not happen, then the delegation will bar Judd from visiting Chechnya, as his trips have provided nothing apart from defamation about what is really happening there, Rogozin stressed.
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