Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 128

On July 1, traffic resumed on the highway between Chechnya and Georgia. Chechnya has great hopes of the highway, since it is the only road bypassing Russia and connecting Chechnya with the outside world, thereby breaching Russia’s attempted blockade of the republic.

(Kommersant-daily, July 2) The opening of the road is part of a large-scale project entitled the “Caucasus Common Home.” Modeled on the European Economic Community, the project is the brainchild of Hoj-Ahmed Nukhaev, leader of a group of Moscow Chechens, and has received support from a number of prominent British politicians and businessmen, including Lord McAlpine.

Chechen Foreign Minister Movladi Udugov called the opening of the highway “an extraordinarily important event for the republic–that is, of course, if it isn’t bombed by Russian planes.” Chechnya sees the road as its “window on Europe” in the face of Russian efforts to block other exits from the republic. The “Road of Life,” as the Chechen press has already begun to call it, in analogy to the road across the ice which helped save blockaded Leningrad during World War II, is not yet ready to function in the wintertime, since the danger of avalanches on one of its sectors is very high. The Chechen leadership hopes however to modernize the road to make it operational year-round. (Kommersant-daily, July 2)