–ZYAZIKOV POURS COLD WATER ON CHECHEN-INGUSH REUNIFICATION
Ingush President Murat Zyazikov said on October 24 that neither Ingushetia nor Chechnya needs a merger of the two republics. “I, as president of Ingushetia, one of the presidents of the Vainakh people, want to state: today, we don’t need this,” Agentstvo Natsionalnykh Novostei (ANN) quoted Zyazikov as saying during a press conference in Moscow. “In the history of our country we have gone through all kinds of consolidations [and] mergers, [and] you yourselves know what it led to in many cases.” At the same time, Zyazikov said the two republics remain “together” in terms of economic, social and family ties. Last month, the speaker of Chechnya’s parliament, Dukvakha Abdurakhmanov, reiterated his call to merge the two republics, along with parts of Dagestan (Chechnya Weekly, September 8). The Soviet-era Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Republic was dissolved in June 1992.
–ALKHANOV SAYS CHINA TO FINANCE A FISH FARM IN CHECHNYA
Chechen President Alu Alkhanov announced during a press conference in Moscow on October 19 that the China Development Bank will fund a 100 million-ruble ($3.7 million) project to build fish hatchery in Chechnya, the Moscow Times reported on October 20. Alkhanov, who recently visited China, said the bank, possibly with other investors, will later build shops and restaurants to sell the fish, investing a total of $300 million in Chechnya. Alkhanov said the final details of the fish farm, with financial guarantees from Russia’s state-controlled Vneshekonombank, would be signed by November 11 during a visit by Chechen officials to China. According to the Moscow Times, officials at the Chinese Embassy in Moscow said they were unaware of the plans.