HOUSING “RESTORATION” IN GROZNY
Anna Politkovskaya of Novaya gazeta recently visited an apartment house in Grozny that the Kadyrov administration likes to display as an example of the restoration work that it has been doing with federal subsidies. She found that the building’s yard had indeed been repaved and that a new children’s playground had been installed. But there were no children in that playground, and apparently no residents of any age. Every day the building is besieged by homeless Chechens begging to move in; they are held back by policemen armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles.
At least two of these would-be residents, whom Politkovskaya interviewed personally, are refugees who recently returned from Ingushetia but who before the war had lived in that very building. The restoration project was controlled by Grozny’s directorate for restoration, which acts as a “total state monopoly” with no effective review by any other agency–thus facilitating the untraceable disappearance of federal subsidies into the hands of the local bureaucracy.