Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 7 Issue: 30

Kommersant reported on July 26 that the Russian government’s commission for Chechen reconstruction, headed by Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref, was in Grozny on July 25 to examine the Chechen government’s use of federal reconstruction funds. President Vladimir Putin’s envoy to the Southern Federal District, Dmitry Kozak was also in Grozny along with Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin, Education and Science Minister Andrei Fursenko and other officials. According to the newspaper, Kozak will personally brief Putin on the results of the inspection, the “informal goal” of which was to assess Chechen Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov’s performance in office. “If German Gref and Aleksei Kudrin are satisfied with the results of Mr. Kadyrov’s economic activity, his candidacy for the post of head of the republic may be proposed; by autumn, he will have satisfied the age requirement of 30, established for a candidate for the post of head of Chechnya.”

Kommersant wrote that Kadyrov drove the visiting federal officials to his hometown of Gudermes, which today shows no traces of war. Said-Magomed Isaraev, an aide to Chechen President Alu Alkhanov, told the newspaper, “They expected to arrive in a half-destroyed town, but saw city blocks shining with modern trimming.”

On the other hand, according to Kommersant, Grozny did not make a similar impression on the visitors. “According to official information, only 900 apartment buildings and private homes have been rebuilt and more than 60,000 were destroyed,” the newspaper wrote of the Chechen capital. “And out of several tens of industrial enterprises, only three have been rebuilt—the Grozny Machine-Building Factory, the Krasny Molot [Red Hammer] and Transmash [factories]. And these are working at far from full capacity.”