The pro-Moscow regime in Chechnya plans to establish unofficial embassies in several European capitals. The representative offices would be located in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, and Poland, which are home to sizable populations of exiled Chechens. The so-called cultural centres would “inform” exile Chechens about the situation in their homeland and help exiles return to Chechnya.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry authorised the regime in Grozny to open representative offices in any European country, said Shamsail Saraliev, Chechnya’s Minister of Information. He said there are over 100,000 Chechens living in Europe. The overall number of Chechens living outside Russia is around 209,000, according to Chechnya’s Deputy Prime Minister Lema Magomadov.
The regime in Grozny plans to draw up an official programme to promote the repatriation of Chechens living abroad. The programme will involve “specialists from all interested ministries and agencies.” The regime plans to establish a database of Chechens living abroad. An official working group will be appointed for visits abroad. Chechnya’s strongman Ramzan Kadyrov has made repeated calls for Chechen refugees to return home.
Chechen refugees in Austria are worried about Grozny’s plans to open a diplomatic bureau in Vienna. In January 2009, a Chechen refugee, Umar Israilov, was killed in broad daylight in the centre of Vienna. Austria’s Foreign Ministry has asked for explanations from Moscow regarding the planned bureaus. Chechen officials are exerting constant pressure on exiles in Europe to return.
Human rights groups accuse Kadyrov’s regime of grave human rights violations to suppress opposition within Chechnya and amongst exiles living in Europe. The Danish Support Committee for Chechnya has cautioned Danish officials against meeting with Kadyrov’s emissaries. In May 2009, Finnish officials hosted a delegation of nine members of the Chechen parliament and representatives of Chechnya’s local administration.
Чечня откроет представительства в Европе
Кавказский Узел, 08.09.2009