UN-watchers now have a new reason to wonder whether UNESCO–the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization–is making good use of the funds collected from the taxpayers of its member states. According to a January 23 report from the BBC, UNESCO is planning to spend some US$2 million for the restoration of Chechnya’s educational system. Of that total, US$300,000 has already been received from Japan.
The Kadyrov administration’s minister of education, Lema Dadaev, welcomed the UN initiative but emphasized the role of his own agency as well as that of the federal education ministry.
UNESCO’s Moscow office has made the program’s top priority the “improvement of the qualifications” of employees of Dadaev’s ministry, and has flown a group of them to Moscow for a three-month course of study. Among these mid-career students was Dadaev himself. Meanwhile, back in Chechnya, many students are meeting for class in rented buildings or taking correspondence courses because their schools have been physically destroyed by military operations.
UNESCO officials said they intend to monitor the distribution of their education subsidies within Chechnya, but correspondent Vadim Dubnov of Novaya gazeta expressed skepticism. “All the same,” he observed, “UNESCO will not be able to send its auditors to Chechnya, but instead will be forced to use the channels provided by Moscow or Kadyrov.”