22 August 2003, 20:30
Chechen Republic, October 5, 2003: Is there choice?
On August 20 non-government organizations of Chechnya made an appeal to the Chechen people, the contenders for the president of Chechnya, world community, Russian and world public organizations not to participate in the presidential election of the Chechen Republic appointed for October 5.
The appeal reads:
"We, representatives of public organizations of the Chechen Republic, declare that we do not intend to participate in the action coming on October 5, whatever form it will have.
First of all, because the war in Chechnya is going on. Tens of thousands of people died, thousands "disappeared", murders and "disappearances" continues."
"Today, by the highest standards, no one knows the way to overcome the dead lock of the Chechen war. This way can only be defined by the free will of the people of the Chechen Republic. Will it be the act of such a free will on October 5, and will it possible to participate in this act?
We can not dictate to anyone, everybody is free in his/her decision. But everybody is responsible for his/her decision. Let everybody make this decision deliberately realizing all the consequences of it.
In our opinion, the election will not bring Peace to the Chechen Republic, if independence supporters, including the members of the Chechen resistance, are excluded from the political process. The experience of conflict settlement in many "hot spots" of the planet evidences that the cessation of military confrontation must precede any elections and referendums."
"They want to force us to participate, thereby depriving us of our future. But if we do not allow to deceive us today, it is a great deal anyway."
Source: Memorial International Society