http://gdb.rferl.org/74e7928e-eb9b-437f-947c-985651bcfb0f_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/74e7928e-eb9b-437f-947c-985651bcfb0f_mw800_mh600.jpg
August 12, 2007 -- A Chechen airline has begun operating, with planned twice daily flights between the Chechen capital, Grozny, and the Russian capital, Moscow.
A Tupolev 134 passenger jet, flown by the company Vainakh Avia, landed at Grozny airport on August 11.
Vainakh Avia's director, Sultan Satuyev, told the Interfax news agency that a foundation named in honor of the assassinated former Chechen leader Akhmad Kadyrov purchased the aircraft for the airline.
The company chief added that the airline plans to acquire more planes and start flights to Siberia, St. Petersburg, and to foreign destinations such as Turkey.
Kadyrov dances at the reopening of Grozny Airport
Ever since his father, pro-Kremlin Chechen President Akhmed-Hadji Kadyrov was killed in a May 2004 bomb blast in Grozny, Ramzan Kadyrov has risen to prominence.
In March 2006, First Deputy Prime Minister Kadyrov, who heads a personal army of 10,000 heavily armed fighters, was named prime minister. His reign as premier has been characterized by divisions in the Chechen leadership and accusations of torture. But he has also been credited with improving living standards in the republic.
In October, he turned 30, clearing the way for running for president.
The fighting in Chechnya
has raged, with short breaks, since 1994. It has brought misery, death, and destruction to the North Caucasus republic and to Russia as a whole. View an annotated timeline
of the conflict.