Separatist Web Site Sums Up Russian Tycoon Berezovskiy's "Chechen Plan"
Source: Kavkaz-Tsentr news agency web site in Russian 19 Feb 03
Russian exiled tycoon Boris Berezovskiy has drawn up a plan for a Chechen settlement, according to separatist web site Kavkaz-Tsentr. The site said that the Russian General Staff had released information about the plan to sound out the attitude of the military and general public towards a Chechen settlement. Under Berezovskiy's plan the constitutional referendum and elections must be postponed until the OSCE and Council of Europe think that the conditions are right. Swiss diplomat Tim Guldimann, who led the OSCE mission in Chechnya during the first war, should be invited to lead a new mission which would reconcile the sides and establish local government. Berezovskiy thinks that the USA will support this plan and put pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin to accept it. The following is the text of the report by Kavkaz-Tsentr news agency web site; the subheading is as published by the web site:
19 February: Information structures of the Russian General Staff and several of the military who are in opposition to Putin have released information through their channels about Boris Berezovskiy's so-called "Chechen plan". We do not know how accurate this information is and whether Berezovskiy is connected to it. However, in our opinion this document shows that amongst the Russian military-political elite they are realizing more clearly the complete hopelessness of the military adventure in Chechnya. So information is fed to the media in order to determine the possible reaction of society and the elites and also of the enemy (the Chechens) to possible options for a proposed reconciliation in the Caucasus. Kavkaz-Tsentr offers Berezovskiy's "Chechen plan" to its readers so that they can evaluate the possible scenarios which are being prepared behind the Chechen leadership's back. The text of the "plan" is published without changes of style or terminology.
Berezovskiy's Chechen plan
Boris Berezovskiy has set "his" media the task of emphasizing the Chechen problem and strengthening the human rights pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin and also of giving more nuanced commentaries on the position of the West towards the Chechen problem. He thinks it necessary to drive a wedge between Putin, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and French President Jacques Chirac on Chechnya, as this weakens the anti-American front on Iraq.
Berezovskiy is working from the position that a US war against Iraq will inevitably lead to complications in relations between Putin and Bush. Russia, together with the European members of the Security Council and China, will begin to demand an end to military actions and will put spokes in the wheels of the Bush administration.
It is in these conditions that Berezovskiy is planning to put forward a new plan for a settlement in Chechnya with stress on international intervention in the process of normalizing the situation in the republic. The main contours of the Berezovskiy plan can be reduced to the following:
The constitutional referendum in Chechnya must be postponed until both the OSCE and PACE Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe think it possible to hold the referendum and then presidential elections.
The mission of international OSCE observers must resume its work in Chechnya and its former head, Swiss Tim Guldimann, must be invited from the Middle East Iran where he is an ambassador for his country. The mission's main task is to reconcile the warring sides, create conditions for the restoration of traditional forms of local government, councils of elders, and to form a Chechen parliament. With the help of the restoration of these forms of government it will be possible temporarily to administer Chechnya until conditions are created for the full restoration of a peaceful life. The functions of power, usurped by pro-Moscow Chechen administration head Akhmad Kadyrov and the military, must be handed to these people's bodies as they are created.
Representatives of Chechen separatist President Aslan Maskhadov and other opposition groups must be included in the local government bodies that are created. In this way, a cease-fire will in effect be established in the republic.
A final settlement can be achieved only by political means and under strict international supervision. An amnesty is declared on Chechen territory and broad autonomy is offered. Commanders of the Chechen military opposition who do not agree must leave Chechnya and move to countries that are ready to receive them.
If the field commanders continue resistance, they will be subject to capture and the trial of the terrorists must be held in accordance with international law. The international community and Russia must recognize such a court's verdict.
After the OSCE and UN consider it possible, a constitutional referendum and subsequent presidential elections will be held in Chechnya, in which all the republic's political forces will take part, including former separatists.
Berezovskiy thinks that only if events develop in this way, which will take at least 10 years, with active international involvement, can Russia expect to keep Chechnya in its make-up. Of course, this plan sticks like a bone in the throat of the Kremlin administration and the military, but it's the internationalization of the Chechen conflict that is the only way to resolve this problem. Berezovskiy thinks that the USA and Western Europe will support his plan and apply corresponding pressure on Putin, who must answer before the international community for his support for the bloody regime in Iraq. Putin, of course, would like "to close" the problem of Chechnya before his elections, but he will not succeed, as in advance he rejects the participation of Maskhadov and his supporters in a political resolution of the conflict.
If Bush turns away from Putin, the latter under the appropriate pressure of the Americans will be forced to make political contact with the armed Chechen opposition. Therefore, Berezovskiy supposes, Maskhadov envoy Akhmed Zakayev will be summoned, Russian presidential envoy Viktor Kazantsev's dialogue with Zakayev will be renewed and then Berezovskiy's plan, calculated on the future development of events around Iraq, will turn out to be just what's needed. But the main conclusion reached by Berezovskiy is that Putin has not resolved the Chechen problem and that with this wound Russia will go to the forthcoming elections, which could become a powerful anti-Putin political event when the people dismiss their president democratically.
The Kavkaz-Tsentr department for cooperation and the media.