– Stepashin and Kadyrov Comment on Chechen Reconstruction
Sergei Stepashin, head of the Audit Chamber, the federal budgetary watchdog agency, said during a visit to Grozny that the absence of financing and a lack of proper coordination in the restoration of buildings and property in Chechnya are leading to an inefficient use of public resources, Prague Watchdog reported on May 24. Still, Stepashin “praised the progress of construction and reconstruction work and the revival of the Chechen economy,” the website reported. Meanwhile, Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov predicted on May 24 that Chechnya would become one of the Southern Federal District’s economic leaders before 2010, Interfax reported. “No traces of war will remain in the Chechen republic by 2008,” the news agency quoted him as saying during a tour of the recently rebuilt Khankalsky neighborhood in east Grozny. “We plan to reach a level of economic development by 2010 that would allow us to compete with other regions of the Southern Federal District.” Kadyrov said that two million square meters of apartments would be repaired and built in 2007. “We have already rebuilt one million square meters of apartments since the beginning of the year,” he said. “People have already moved into those apartments. We plan to carry out the same amount of work before the end of the year.”
– Chechen Dies in Stavropol Brawl
A Chechen man was killed and at least eight other people were injured in a brawl involving migrants from the Caucasus and local residents in Stavropol, the Associated Press reported on May 26. According to police, several hundred young men armed with metal rods, baseball bats and knives took part in the fight, which started late on May 24 and continued overnight at a park in Stavropol. Gelani Ataev, an ethnic Chechen student who also worked as a guard at a casino, was killed and eight others were hospitalized with wounds sustained in the brawl, which was triggered by a dispute between Ataev and a local resident and broken up by riot police firing warning shots into the air. According to the AP, police sought to downplay any racial element in the brawl, which is being investigated by prosecutors.
– Putin Posthumously Decorates Chechen Village Administration Head
President Vladimir Putin posthumously decorated Ibragim Umpashaev, the head administrator of the Chechen village Avtury, who was killed in November 2005, Interfax reported on May 29. According to the Kremlin press service, Umpashaev, who was appointed head of the Avtury village administration in December 1999, was decorated for courage and devotion in performing his duties and for actively promoting the surrender of militants and defending Avtury from rebel attacks on numerous occasions. On November 29, 2005, two days after the elections for Chechnya’s regional parliament, gunmen burst into Umpashaev’s home and shot him dead in front of his family, after which they killed his oldest son, who had rushed home from a neighboring house after hearing the shots (Chechnya Weekly, December 1, 2005).
– Muslim Ambassadors to Visit Chechnya
Chechnya’s envoy to Moscow Ziyad Sabsabi told Interfax on May 29 that ambassadors from 30 Muslim countries would visit Chechnya in June. “The planned visit of the ambassadors will be unique in status and content,” Sabsabi said. “The Chechen Republic is being rebuilt at a breakneck pace. It needs ample investment to deal with the aftermath of the hostilities. It is essential that the foreign ambassadors see the positive changes that are taking place in the republic with their own eyes. I think this will improve the image of Chechnya abroad and help to attract more investment in its economy.”