Out in the cold in Grozny and a look at democracy in Russia
Nearly 150 families have been thrown out of their temporary homes into the cold winters night in Grozny, Chechnya. And by cold I dont mean a bit chilly todays forecast is for snow, with a maximum temperature of -5 Celcius.
The families of internally displaced people living in a temporary accommodation centre in the Chechen capital were reportedly told by officials on 10 January that they had to leave at short notice. Some have apparently been told they have until the end of the month, but officials have threatened to cut off the electricity and gas if they do not leave. The families include young children, elderly and disabled people.
The officials told them that they would have to move out so that the building's owners could carry out repairs. The real reason may be to bolster the authorities' claims that normal life is being restored in Grozny. Most were told that each family would be given 18,000 roubles (around US$700) to find somewhere else to live for six months, but they say its not enough.
At least 67 of the families have already left the centre and at least one is believed to have camped out in a ruined building. Its reported that inhabitants of all the other remaining temporary accommodation centres in Grozny are also being told to leave. Were campaigning on this case and you can add your voice here.
Despite rebuilding programmes in Chechnya, there are still housing shortages. Heavy fighting has ended, but large parts of Grozny are still in ruins after the past bombardment by Russian federal forces (clip below):
Russias also been in the news this week, with reports that President Putin intends to halve the number of foreign monitors at the next election to just 400. Worrying.
For a little insight into what passes for democracy in this part of the world, check out this brilliant blog entry one mans attempt to vote in Grozny.
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