Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 2 Issue: 45

In the information war for Chechnya,” the Moscow Times reported on December 14, “the empire has struck back. Kremlin-connected on [13 December] launched a Chechnya web site,, in an attempt to counterbalance the many sites set up by Chechen separatists, including the rebels’ popular site” The new web site, it was said, will not be propagandistic but “purely informational.” According to Russian presidential spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky, the site will “break through the blockade on good news from Chechnya,” which he said is imposed by the media’s viewing of the republic mainly through the prism of the ongoing conflict there.

In an interview carried by the new pro-Moscow web-site, Premier Stanislav Il’yasov admitted that the Russian State Construction Committee (Gosstroi) has been lagging behind in restoring housing in Chechnya. “As of today, ” he reported, “700 houses have been restored, but these houses did not require complete restoration–they did not have to be rebuilt from the foundation up.” The current population of the Chechen Republic, Il’yasov said, is about 750,000 (, December 13).