Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 21

More than 6 million rubles earmarked for Chechnya from the federal budget for the restoration of housing, an official Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported on July 10, have been embezzled by a thirty-year-old resident of Alkhan-Kala. In April 2001, the accused had concluded an agreement with a Moscow-based construction firm to carry out restoration work in Alkhan-Kala. This “criminal group” then embezzled the 6 million rubles and submitted false documents concerning restoration work that was in fact not done.

In an article entitled “The Bloody Traces of Chechen Millions,” appearing in the July 12 issue of an official Russian government newspaper, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, it was reported that even larger sums had recently been embezzled. Noting that the March 2002 investigation into budget expenditures in Chechnya conducted by the Russian Accounting Chamber had “begun noisily but ended quietly,” the author of the article, journalist Timofei Borisov, reported that Russian law enforcement organs have now opened “the first criminal cases” concerning massive embezzlement of Russian government funds earmarked for Chechen reconstruction. A Chechen businessman, A.A. Dzhamaluev, and the so-called “SU-105” firm located in Sal’sk, Rostov Oblast’, had received the sum of 75 million rubles to restore seven sites in the Chechen capital and two in the city of Gudermes. Also involved in this project were five “commercial structures located in Moscow”; all five of these structures, which are named by Borisov, appear to have been “fake.” “Only the [Russian state] money paid out to them and to Director Dzhamaluev was real.” A similar situation obtained in the case of 26 million rubles allocated to the pro-Moscow minister of education of Chechnya, Lema Dadaev, and to the “Rim-Group” firm located in the Russian city of Samara. Money was allocated for the installation of boilers in twelve Chechen schools. In fact, only work totaling some $10,000 was accomplished; “the remnants of the allocated sum–almost US$1 million–cannot be found.”