Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 25

The August 22 issue of the twice-weekly Novaya Gazeta featured an interview conducted by military journalist Vyacheslav Izmailov with Usman Masaev, deputy chief of administration for investments and economic development under the pro-Moscow head of the republic, Akhmad Kadyrov. “The budget of Chechnya for 2002,” Masaev stipulated, “is RU4.5 billion. A majority of these funds must come from the center [Moscow] and then be inserted into the economy. Alas, however, this is not happening. Officially, only 14 percent of budgeted funds earmarked for the restoration of the [Chechen] economy were spent over the first seven months of this year. But even that 14 percent exists only on paper…. The money earmarked for the economy does not flow directly into the republic. Twenty-five ministries, agencies and state committees of Russia… allocate the money. Correspondence, discussions, negotiations, money transfers–all of that has dragged out for many months…. In fact–and I stand behind these words–not a single ruble has to date been spent [on Chechnya]. Last year, US$500 million disappeared into the air; this year they will steal more–US$700 million.”