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18 Apr, 2009 10:28

Chechnya celebrates end of counter-terrorist operation

After Thursday's end to the counter terrorist operation in Chechnya, the Russian Republic is gearing up for business.

As 25,000 troops and police pull out, Chechens are hoping that international investment will pour in. They will also be linked to the wider world as Grozny airport will once more be open to international flights.

President Ramzan Kadyrov, the son of the first Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov, assassinated by terrorists, says the peace came at a very high price.

“I am fulfilling my father’s dreams. He dreamt that the counter terrorist operation would end and that human rights would no longer be violated. He wanted the republic’s economy to grow, so that Chechnya could prosper. So we are bringing all those beginnings to a logical conclusion,” said Kadyrov.

Even though the peaceful state of the republic has been officially confirmed, there is still a lot of work to do. Despite the fact that the republic has witnessed a steady rise of building construction works recently, some problems still exist.

“I think that since they’ve lifted the counter-terrorist operation we’ll have more construction and therefore more jobs. This is what I’m hoping for,” says unemployed local resident Alik Khadzhiev.

The majority of the republic’s population is still unemployed, but some do get by with small private businesses. Taxi driver Marat Umarov shared his hopes:

“They are starting to build resorts and tourist bases here, so I hope it opens up more job opportunities for us.”

The next step will be to attract investment in Chechnya. There has already been some attention from international investors and Kadyrov says that with the new international airport and Chechen control of customs, it will be much easier to attract foreign input.

Only five years ago Chechnya was a no-go area. Now the streets of its capital Grozny remind some of European cities.

With the end of the counter-terrorist operation in Chechnya, locals are expecting an economic boost and its society opening up to the world.