President Putin has ordered that the directorate for reconstruction work in Chechnya is to be transferred from Moscow to Grozny. The new head of the directorate is to be one Batukhan Kurbanov, an engineer who was involved in earlier clean-up efforts in the shattered Chechen capital. In 2001 and 2002, Kurbanov’s firm “Interbiznes-55” held a monopoly over state-funded projects for removing garbage and rubble from Grozny, and in 2003 participated in reconstruction of the city. According to a May 18 article by Svetlana Borozdina for the Gzt.ru website, Kurbanov’s earlier work was not highly regarded: Federal auditors included “Interbiznes-55” on a list of six companies which failed to finish contracts for which they had been paid in advance.
The website’s sources said that Kurbanov’s appointment came as a surprise to Chechnya’s pro-Moscow administration’s office in Moscow. High-ranking Chechen officials nevertheless hope that they will now have more opportunities to decide for themselves which local buildings and other projects should have priority, rather than carrying out decisions made in Moscow. In the ongoing tug of war between Grozny and the center about who should control spending decisions (and the associated opportunities for corruption), this one looks like a win for Grozny.