The former mayor of Grozny, Bislan Gantemirov, said in an interview with "Ogonek," that 90 percent of the money allotted for the restoration of Chechnya is being "squandered." According to Gantemirov, the embezzlement was directly led by former FSB chief Mikhail Barsukov, presidential security chief Aleksandr Korzhakov, former Defense Minister Pavel Grachev and former Interior Minister Anatoly Kulikov. Gantemirov said that Korzhakov sent his representative to him with a demand to accept a building for whose restoration the government had allotted 780 billion (old, unredenominated) rubles, though no more than 100 billion had actually been invested. According to Gantemirov, Kulikov later bombed this building to cover their tracks. (Ogonek, No. 15, April 1998)
Although Gantemirov’s revelations are sensational, they must be taken with a grain of salt. In 1991, Gantemirov was Djohar Dudaev’s closest associate (he headed the presidential guard and was the mayor of Grozny). After breaking with Dudaev in 1992, Gantemirov began to collaborate with his former enemies, that is, the Russian leadership. In November 1994, Gantemirov’s armed detachments, with the help of Russian servicemen, tried to take Grozny by storm, but were defeated. Gantemirov appeared in Grozny again in January 1995 together with Russian troops. In May 1996, he was arrested by the Prosecutor General’s Office for embezzling money sent for the restoration of Chechnya. The interview with Ogonek was held at Lefortovo Prison.
Russia Puts the Squeeze on Belarus.