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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kadyrov Sees a Sovereign Chechnya

With an eye on Chechnya's upcoming presidential vote, pro-Moscow Chechen leader Akhmad Kadyrov has drafted his own version of a crucial treaty dividing powers between the republic and Moscow that challenges federal law and provides Chechnya with more autonomy than any other Russian region.

The draft, which was published in the Chechen press last weekend, declares Chechnya a sovereign state within Russia's borders that has its own national bank and the right to participate in foreign affairs and open representative offices abroad. It states Chechnya would work closely together with Moscow on these issues.

The proposal also envisions the creation of free economic zones in Chechnya, an unconstitutional practice that Moscow long has been attempting to end in neighboring Ingushetia and other regions.

Also contradicting the Russian Constitution, the draft says Chechnya would have the sole authority to exploit natural resources such as oil. The Constitution says the regions and Moscow must work together in the exploitation of natural resources.

Kadyrov, however, insisted that his draft fully complies with federal law.

"Ahead of any possible criticism, I want to take full responsibility in stressing that the draft fully corresponds with the requirements of the Russian and Chechen constitutions," Kadyrov was quoted by Interfax as saying this week.

He said the treaty might be signed by Moscow and Grozny in late September.

Kadyrov has announced his candidacy for the Chechen presidential election, which is expected in October.

Earlier this month, President Vladimir Putin ordered a commission led by the head of the presidential administration, Alexander Voloshin, to come up by Oct. 1 with its own version of the treaty dividing powers.

Kadyrov's draft will be considered by Voloshin's commission within the next two weeks, Stanislav Ilyasov, the federal minister for Chechnya, was quoted as saying by Vedomosti in Tuesday's issue.

Alexei Makarkin, political analyst for the Center for Political Technologies, said Chechnya might be granted broader autonomy than other regions because it is a special case.

"The idea of a special status for the republic is very popular among Chechens, and Moscow understands that without such concessions it will be unable to pacify the republic," he said.

The big question that remains is how many rights Moscow will allow it to have, he said.

Former Economics Minister Yevgeny Yasin poured scorn on the idea of creating free economic zones in Chechnya. He said this would allow the republic to become "an all-Russian offshore haven," Vedomosti reported Wednesday.

Putin's human rights envoy in Chechnya, Abdul-Khakim Sultygov, on Tuesday called on Chechen rebels to come up with their own draft of the treaty.