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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chechens Ask for Autonomy

The Chechen government hopes to sign an agreement with Moscow soon that will give it "the broadest autonomy," a senior Chechen official said Thursday.

The deal the Chechens are proposing gives them the right to all the region's natural resources and taxes, and denies federal forces the right to intervene without Chechen government permission.

"A draft agreement is ready, which still needs legal examination. It is ready in the sense that the working group has prepared it completely," said Taus Dzhabrailov, head of the Chechen State Council. "President Vladimir Putin has always said Chechnya should receive the broadest autonomy ... As for natural wealth and other resources, they will be in the hands of the government of the Chechen republic."

He said the document would be signed "in the first quarter, or anyway in the first half, of this year."

"I do not think this agreement could be signed by Moscow," said Alexei Malashenko of the Carnegie Moscow Center. "It is above all convenient for [Chechen Deputy Prime Minister] Ramzan Kadyrov and his team, but the generals and the defense ministry would not like it."

n The International Federation for Human Rights and the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights have appealed to Putin to order the release of eight relatives of rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov, who allegedly were abducted last month by kadyrovtsy.

The groups said the captives had been held in an attempt to force Maskhadov to surrender.

(AP, Reuters)