MOSCOW, March 23 (Itar-Tass) – A referendum, in which Chechnya’s first constitution in its contemporary history was adopted, consolidated “the party of peace in the region,” restored federal jurisdiction there de jure and put an end to separatism of the 1990s, Denis Sokolov, Director of the Caucasian Centre of Project Decisions, told Itar-Tass on Saturday, March 23.
“The main inspirer of the referendum was Chechnya’s first President Akhmat Kadyrov and it was him who signed a decree that proclaimed Constitution Day in the republic on March 23,” he said.
According to the expert, “Time will tell how much significance this first constitution will have for the development of Chechen statehood. However compared to how much grief was borne and how much tears and blood was shed, the consolidation of society, the victory of the ‘party of peace’ and the end of hostilities are an obvious gain that outweighs many other things,” Sokolov said.
Naturally, not all processes in the region “are assessed definitively: and yet “rebuilt Grozny, order and tidiness across the republic and … the football club Terek – these ten years of calm are extremely important not only for Chechnya itself but also for its neighbours,” he said.
“In the eastern parts of the Stavropol Territory, the River Terek is no longer regarded as a state border, and villagers are building a new economy, including together with their neighbours. Taxi drivers go to Grozny and back, young people go to the Chechen Republic. And trade is blossoming in Dagestan on the border with Chechnya. As a marketplace, Grozny has become closer to Dagestani districts again,” Sokolov said.
Ingushetia, which received refugees during the war in numbers that were only slightly smaller than its own population, got a chance to recover. “We must give credit to Ingushetia’s then leadership with Murat Zyazikov, which had created conditions for holding the referendum – about 300,000 displaced persons from Chechnya were living in Ingushetia at that time,” the expert said.
The Chechen Constitution adopted on March 23, 2003, recognised Chechnya as a part of the Russian Federation and replaced the so-called “Dudayev constitution”, which proclaimed Chechnya an independent state.