Chechnya Gets First Senator in Russian Parliament Since 1997

Published December 20th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

The Russian upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, voted Wednesday for Akhmat Zavgayev to become the first senator for Chechnya since 1997. 

Zavgayev's nomination was proposed by the head of the pro-Moscow administration in the war-torn republic Akhmad Kadyrov. 

A total of 118 senators voted in favour of the candidate, with two abstaining during Wednesday's session. 

Zavgayev's brother Doku, who lead the republic from 1995 to 1997, was the last senator to represent Chechnya in the Federation Council. 

His successor, Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov, who is no longer officially recognized by Moscow, refused to take up his mandate in the Federation Council after Russia granted de-facto independence to the republic following the 1994-1996 war. 

Doku Zavgayev currently serves as the Russian ambassador to Tanzania. 

Kadyrov arrived in Moscow on Tuesday to discuss the creation of a Chechen government with Russian officials, a close administration source told AFP. 

The former mufti, or religious leader, who was appointed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in June, said Wednesday that he should lead the new government and did not exclude the prospect of multi-millionaire Chechen businessman Malik Saidulayev acting as his deputy, RIA Novosti reported. 

"I was appointed to head Chechnya by the Russan President. I do not have the authority to pass this responsibility on to someone else," the news agency quoted Kadyrov as saying. 

Kadyrov noted that his deputy would have the same responsibility as a Prime Minister and that "this could be Saidulayev". 

He confirmed that he had met with Saidulayev on Tuesday to discuss the Chechen government, but added that administrative positions had not yet been assigned. 

Russia sent troops back into the breakaway republic on October 1 last year in a self-styled "anti-terrorist operation" to stamp out rebels blamed for a series of apartment bombings that killed 292 people and several rebel incursions into the neighboring republic of Dagestan -- MOSCOW (AFP)  




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