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The World Chechen Congress that represents the estimated 200,000 Chechens currently in exile in Europe and elsewhere plans to convene in Warsaw to draft a new strategy for ending the ongoing war in the North Caucasus before it escalates to the point that other countries and military blocs become involved. The congress -- to which Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov is not invited -- is scheduled for September 16-18, just one month before the pro-Moscow Chechen leadership plans a World Congress of the Chechen People in Grozny.

The announcement of the Warsaw forum implicitly contrasts the June 2010 resolution passed by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe condemning Russian brutality in Chechnya with the clear reluctance of the U.S. and European states that are members of the G-8 to face up to blatant human rights violations, corruption, police brutality, and the suppression of democracy across Russia.

In order to preclude a further escalation of the ongoing fighting in the North Caucasus, it urges international organizations such as the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the UN to establish a Council on the Caucasus that would be tasked with drafting a common strategy for ending the ongoing conflict between Russia and Chechnya and the resulting violence and terrorism in the North Caucasus. It also hopes to convene an international war crimes tribunal for Chechnya.

The Warsaw World Congress also plans to adopt its own unified concept for ending the ongoing violence and securing the "de-occupation" of Chechnya.

The invitees include four Nobel Peace Prize laureates, including Mikhail Gorbachev, as well as Vaclav Havel, representatives of international organizations, numerous European, U.S., and Russian political figures and intellectuals who have campaigned against Russian brutality in Chechnya, and some 170 Chechens living in exile abroad.

In an interview with RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service, World Chechen Congress President Deni Teps explained that the organizers have invited unnamed Russian leaders to the Congress because the ongoing war is between Russia and the Chechen Republic Ichkeria proclaimed in 1991. Teps added that Kadyrov and other "bureaucrats" appointed by Moscow to administer Chechnya have not been invited because they do not have the authority to take independent political decisions.

The agenda of the Warsaw meeting is clearly far more ambitious than that Kadyrov is planning in Grozny, which will reportedly focus on how Chechen émigrés are adapting to their life in exile. That is a far cry from the grandiose event that Kadyrov last year envisaged convening to promote "consolidation" of the Chechen people and rapprochement between the pro-Moscow Chechen leadership and the Chechen Republic Ichkeria leadership in exile headed by Akhmed Zakayev.

Tentative agreement on organizing that gathering before the end of the year was reached during talks in London in August 2009 between Zakayev and pro-Moscow Chechen parliament speaker Dukvakha Abdurakhmanov.

About This Blog

This blog presents analyst Liz Fuller's personal take on events in the region, following on from her work in the "RFE/RL Caucasus Report." It also aims, to borrow a metaphor from Tom de Waal, to act as a smoke detector, focusing attention on potential conflict situations and crises throughout the region. The views are the author's own and do not represent those of RFE/RL.


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