Monday, July 23, 2007

Reconstruction?




Recent satellite photos of Grozny show that large areas of the Chechen capital's infrastructure are still badly damaged and in need of repair. This tends to contradict the Kadyrov government's claims that the capital is now subject to widespread "reconstruction".

Posters to the Chechnya Short List (chechnya-sl) have been pointing out that the current Google Earth image of Grozny shows the capital partially obscured by a large white cloud. However, as one poster makes clear,
you can still zoom in on e.g. Minutka "Square" and see the total destruction, as well as the Potemkin activity. They have apparently erected some kind of nice white structure in the middle of Minutka, and there's some car and truck traffic, but the image shows that the directly adjacent buildings have been destroyed down to their still visible foundations, and all the apartment buildings in the area are damaged.

You can also look at other areas and see exactly where the famous "reconstruction" has taken place - a few buildings along a road here, a single building there, in the middle of still almost total (I'd guess 90%) destruction in the urban areas. Those must be the places where friendly journalists and the CoE improvement crowd are taken on the KGB sightseeing tours.

An interesting detail is the fact that the the black smoke trails from the burning oil wells have disappeared. They used to look like the ones seen in Kuwait after the first Gulf War, and continued for years and years. Apparently the Russians or the Kadyrov gang have now managed to take full control of the oil theft, so the tit-for-tat burning of other gangs' resources stopped.
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