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Chechen Republic Head Threatens Ministers With Dismissal

Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov has stressed that the first priority of the new government should be to attract investment, create new jobs, and strengthen the economy.
Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov has lambasted members of the cabinet formed 10 weeks ago for failing to demonstrate initiative and instead "waiting for someone to bring them something ready on a plate."

Kadyrov recalled that "this is not the first time I've talked to you about your shortcomings, I've pointed them out to you before and given you time to shape up." Stressing that "we need competent managers," he warned ministers and heads of district administrations that failure to adopt "a more responsible approach" to their duties could result in their dismissal.

Kadyrov had expressed similar dissatisfaction with the overall performance of the government just one week earlier at a meeting on July 27 with administration head Magomed Daudov, Prime Minister Abubakar Edelgeriyev, and other senior government officials. On that occasion, Kadyrov acknowledged there had been "some minor improvements," but at the same time ordered Daudov, Edelgeriyev, and individual ministers to prepare a report on the cabinet's achievements over the past three months.

When he named Edelgeriyev prime minister in May, Kadyrov stressed that the first priority of the new government should be to attract investment, create new jobs, and strengthen the economy. At a recent meeting convened by Daudov to review the government's performance during the first six months of this year, Minister of Economic Development and Trade Abdula Magomedov noted that virtually all macroeconomic indicators showed continued growth.

Attracting investment has apparently proven more problematic, however. Kadyrov complained last week that ministers have not proposed a single new investment project. Edelgeriyev's predecessor as prime minister, Odes Baysultanov, who is now deputy presidential envoy to the North Caucasus Federal District, noted that Chechnya has secured funds only for two major projects. They are a ski resort in Veduchi and a technology hub in the Shali district for which Russia's Vneshekonombank has promised funding. What will be produced there and by whom, given the dearth of qualified local personnel, remains a mystery.

The reasons why investors tend to give Chechnya a wide berth are twofold. First, the Islamic insurgency remains a force to be reckoned with, even though its members do not primarily attack economic targets. And second, it is common knowledge that Kadyrov himself creams off a percentage of all funds allocated for investment, and of the earnings of any enterprise that makes a profit.

About This Blog

This blog presents analyst Liz Fuller's personal take on events in the region, following on from her work in the "RFE/RL Caucasus Report." It also aims, to borrow a metaphor from Tom de Waal, to act as a smoke detector, focusing attention on potential conflict situations and crises throughout the region. The views are the author's own and do not represent those of RFE/RL.


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