$18 billion to transform Chechnya

The quality of life in Chechnya could become the envy of Russia ­ and all for the bargain price of 500 billion rubles ($18 billion).

That's the figure that the republic's government has asked Moscow to hand over to fund a transformation of a region more closely associated with unrest.

The local top cats want to cast that intimidating image aside as they embark on an economic development program until 2025.

However, the ambitious plans have already encountered sharp criticism.


"It's a joke," laughed Natalya Zubaryevich, director of the Independent Institute for Social Policy's regional program.

"500 billion roubles is nearly 10 per cent of the total budget expenditure for all the Russian regions...It is impossible to find this amount of money and there is no need to command such fantastic ideas because they will never be realized. Generally they like practical jokes but it is not a good pattern to follow," she told The Moscow News.

The plan

Grozny's road map for development includes research into the socio-economic situation in Chechnya, the report is due for completion in September and is to cost 7 million rubles.

In April this year the Chechen authorities submitted a request to the regions ministry outlining a plan of development for the North Caucasus administrative region until 2025. As part of this Chechnya requested 498 billion rubles. As head of the republic Ramzan Kadyrov said, this was not just for the purposes of governance but also to "defend," Kommersant reported.

The hopes are that if the republic develops along "optimal" lines then, "the level of income and quality of life in the Chechen Republic will become the leader among regions," officials say, Kommersant cited.


But Zubaryevich is concerned that this is a lost cause.

"I may say that they will not get this money because last year federal money to Chechnya went down by 2 or 3 per cent, compared to 2009...When the Chechen leadership received a little less money last year they dropped their investment in the region by nearly 30 per cent.

It seems they can only rule with a growing flow of money. But a 30 per cent drop in investment means big problems," Zubaryevich said.

Throwing money at the problem

After Prime Minister Putin announced an earlier injection of cash into the Caucasus an angry crowd gathered in Moscow to protest funds being diverted off to feed what many see as the cradle of Russian terrorism.

Zubayrevich and Dr Stefan Meister of the German Council on Foreign Relations hint that they could have a point, alluding to rampant corruption which creams off significant sums of money intended for developing the region.

"This draft went through a preliminary hearing in the State Duma, but nobody knows when it will come up for debate. If it was approved it would be great," Gusev said.

Keyword Tags:

Chechnya, North Caucasus - Russia News - Russia - Johnson's Russia List

Bookmark and Share - Back to the Top -        


Bookmark and Share

- Back to the Top -        

  Follow Johnson's Russia List on Twitter