At a time when some people in Chechnya are building houses and roads and are preparing for the August 29 presidential elections, others are shooting at them. Acting Chechen President Sergei Abramov narrowly escaped with his life after a landmine exploded recently, while later eleven security guards went missing, and a school was shelled. The militants are seeking to scare civilians away from the elections.
However, there is every indication that this will not happen. Moscow has allocated vast funds for the restoration of Chechnya's devastated economy and the Chechen population is interested in seeing that this money is spent sensibly. To strengthen control over this work, Economic Development Minister German Gref has been appointed head of the interdepartmental commission for coordinating the efforts of federal ministries and the republic's government in the restoration of Chechnya.
Certainly, the situation in the run-up to the elections cannot be considered calm. But cynical as it might sound, this is normal for Chechnya. For a healthy man, the temperature of 36.6 is normal, while for a man recovering from a serious illness, which Chechnya is, the temperature of 37.5 is acceptable. Above all, the issue is economic recovery. According to Nezavisimaya Gazeta, "Gherman Gref was a good lobbyist and managed to secure an increase in federal allocations for the republic's restoration." Literally the other day, the minister said that the government had decided to allot an additional 1.4 billion rubles for the restoration of the republic's main facilities, housing and roads, and promised that his ministry would submit Chechnya's socio-economic development programme to the government next week. Moreover, Mr Gref asserted that compensation for lost housing would be paid as scheduled before the end of the year.
This financial flow from Moscow for the construction of houses, roads, educationand healthcare institutions will hit the "militant brothers" more effectively than any howitzer. So the presidential elections in Chechnya will be held on time.