Chechens vote to stay in Russia
The week's news at a glance.
The Chechen people have voted overwhelmingly to approve a constitution that keeps their province within the Russian Federation. Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov condemned the vote, organized by the Russian government, as an illegal pseudo-referendum. Voters, he said, were given a choice between capitulation to the Russian government and defying it with a vote of no, which would have surely brought more war to the ravaged province. Despite Maskhadovs call to boycott the vote, 80 percent of Chechens turned out. About 96 percent of them voted to approve the constitution, according to the Russians. International monitors reported no serious violations. President Vladimir Putin said the vote had resolved the last serious problem relating to Russias territorial integrity.