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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

EDITORIAL: Chechnya's UN Appeal Is Premature




The leadership of the Chechen republic is clearly suffering from delusions of grandeur.


In a flurry of diplomatic activity over the last few days, Grozny has applied to United Nation's Secretary General Kofi Annan asking him to consider making the Caucasus republic a member, and Tuesday applied to the Commonwealth of Independent States, the loose successor to the Soviet Union, asking it to accept Chechnya as a full-fledgedmember.


Furthermore, the Chechen government said it wanted no more dealings with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe unless the body recognized the republic as a sovereign nation.


Two years ago, the international community might at least have given some consideration to Chechnya's appeal for nation status. But not now.


During the 21-month war with Moscow, the tiny republic acquired the image of a David fighting a boorish and aggressive Goliath. The Western media, and some sections of the Russian press, did all they could to bring to light the brutal destruction Russian forces were wreaking on the republic.


The international community, though constrained by a desire to preserve good relations with Moscow, was clearly sympathetic to Chechnya's desire for greater autonomy.


In large part thanks to this outside support, and the resulting embarrassment for the Russian government, a peace settlement was reached that could have allowed Chechnya to gradually move toward independence.


Since then though, Grozny has squandered the good will it earned, and forfeited any faith there ever was in its ability to govern an independent state.


Helped by the apparent indifference of the Chechen government, the republic has turned into a no-go zone where armed formations wander the countryside unchecked and hostage takers operate with impunity.


The case of Vincent Cochetel, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees official who has now been in captivity, almost certainly in Chechnya, for the past five months, bears witness to the total inability of Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov to put his own house in order.


Many other journalists and aid workers have been incarcerated in Chechnya as part of a dirty growth industry in taking hostages for ransom.


And now Grozny expects to be embraced by the international community? If this is ever going to happen, Maskhadov must forget his ambitions of strutting on the international stage as leader of an independent state and start trying to make a better fist of governing his republic.


For now at least, Chechnya does not deserve to be a sovereign state.