2,000 Chechen militants returned to peaceful life since 2000

More than 2,000 Chechen militants have returned to peaceful life since the year 2000, Akhmar Zavgayev, a representative of the Chechen administration to the Federation Council, told journalists on Thursday. According to his account, Chechnya is gradually "returning to peaceful life." Zavgayev reported that the militants who had laid down weapons had become "respectable citizens of their republic." "Some of them were sent to study in different regions of Russia, others were drafted, and some work for the Chechen police and commandant's offices," he said.

He also stressed that the process of restoring the republic's infrastructure was coming to an end. Over the first six months of 2002, Chechnya collected 2 billion rubles of taxes, and is planning to collect a total of 3.5 billion rubles by the end of the year /according to Zavgayev, Chechnya's budget for the current year was 5.2 billion/. In 2003, budget expenditures are expected to reach 8.2 billion rubles.

As of today, Chechnya's high schools have opened their doors to admit 200,000 children. 18,000 young people go to the republic's higher educational establishments. Chechnya has created 120,000 new jobs, although 150,000 able-bodied citizens still live on doles.

The judicial system has been restored, the Prosecutor's Office opened, stressed Zavgayev. Interior offices were set up in 15 of Chechnya's 18 districts.

He also pointed out to Chechnya's unusually large harvest of 380,000 tons of grain. Hopefully, the republic would stop living off of grants in the next few years, he said.

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