Chechnya Appeals for Skilled to Return and Rebuild Country
The head of the pro-Russian administration in the rebellious southern republic of Chechnya appealed on Friday for Chechen and Russian specialists to return to their war-scarred Chechen homeland and contribute to its rebirth.
Akhmad Kadyrov said in a message directed at people with skills who left the ethnic minority republic during the war-torn 1990s: "Return home to participate in the renaissance. The best specialists and professional people have left the republic, while our fatherland Chechnya lies in ruins and we need professional skills."
Chechnya had 1.2 million inhabitants, the majority of them Chechens but including more than 400,000 Russians, before its bid for independence led to the first armed intervention by Moscow in 1994.
Practically all the Russian population has since left.
Some 160,000 refugees from the Chechen wars are currently in two neighboring minority republics inside the Russian Federation, Ingushetia and Dagestan, as well as in Georgia, now an independent state to the south.
The situation in Chechnya remains unstable with numerous clashes between pro-independence fighters and Russian government troops, as well as assassination attempts on members of the pro-Russian official administration and on government forces.
A top pro-Russian Chechen official accused Russian forces of widespread human rights violations last Sunday.
Bislan Gantamirov, new mayor of Grozny, was quoted by Interfax as saying that fundamental rights and liberties were being violated in the Chechen capital, where "15 to 20 civilians are killed daily."
"Terrorists are not the only ones to blame for these acts," said Gantamirov: "We must put an end to the illegal and arbitrary arrests that the civilian population is facing" -- MOSCOW (AFP)
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