Koshman sets priorities for Chechen reconstruction

Nikolai Koshman, the Russian government representative in Chechnya, told journalists in Moscow on 4 February that it is necessary to restore gas and electricity supplies to all Russian- controlled districts of Chechnya and to ensure that communications, schools, and hospitals are functioning normally, Russian agencies reported. Only when this is achieved, Koshman continued, should a decision be taken on whether to rebuild Grozny. He added that at present, however, "there is no money" for undertaking that task. Koshman said that it would not be "dreadful" if Gudermes, the second- largest town in Chechnya, were temporarily designated the republic's capital. Koshman had argued last November that there was "no need" to rebuild Grozny (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15 November 1999). Koshman also denied rumors of tensions between himself and former Grozny Mayor Beslan Gantamirov and pro-Moscow Chechen State Council chairman Malik Saidullaev, according to Interfax. LF

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