Moscow, 7 February 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Russia's State Duma (lower house) today approved a draft amnesty resolution on Chechnya. The measure was passed by 263 votes 27 and envisages a pardon for Russian soldiers and officers who deserted their units and for Chechens who fought the Russians but later laid down their arms.
Today's measure can still be amended and must be voted on again to become law. The text as it stands does not provide amnesty for what it calls "terrorist" or "especially dangerous" acts. According to the Russian Constitution, the amnesty does not need to be confirmed by the president or the upper house of parliament.
Later today, in a closed session, Duma deputies are scheduled to question Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov on NATO's plans for enlargement and Moscow's contingency plans.
Also today, deputies have called First Deputy Premier Viktor Ilyukhin and the chairman of the State Pension Fund, Vasiliy Barchuk, to report on the state of pension arrears.