Ramzan Kadyrov, Raul Arashukov. Photo: REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov, press service of 'Stavropolkraigaz'. Collage made by the Caucasian Knot

14 February 2019, 18:29

Financial Times links Arashukov family's case with gas debts of Chechnya

The dispute over the Chechen gas debt takes place amid tough measures to combat the inefficient operation of the Russian domestic market, say reporters of the Financial Times. The proceedings against the Arashukov family were launched against the background of their attempt to take control over the money for gas supplies to Chechnya, believes Oleg Bondarenko, the director of the Progressive Policy Foundation.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on January 16, the Prosecutor's Office of Chechnya reported that the Grozny court ordered the "Gazprom" to write off the "bad debts of the population" in the amount exceeding 9 billion roubles. The "Gazprom" filed an appeal against the decision. On January 22, the General's Prosecutor Office supported the refusal of the "Gazprom" to write off debts of Chechen residents.

In the dispute between "Gazprom" and Chechnya, the Russian President has faced a difficult choice between one of the country's largest and most strategically important companies and the important region which has always been "special" for Moscow, including in terms of security. If Vladimir Putin supports the debt relief, that will strengthen his position in the region, but such a decision could have dangerous consequences for "Gazprom", since the other subjects of the Russian Federation may require taking similar measures for them, the British Financial Times reported on February 11.

According to authors of the article, the dispute over the Chechen gas debt goes along with tough measures to combat the inefficient operation of the Russian domestic market and, in particular, with detentions of the Arashukov father and son, and those events underline the growing tension between the regions and "Gazprom".

Raul Arashukov, an advisor to the director general of the "Gazprom Mezhregiongaz" and the father of Senator Rauf Arashukov, was arrested for two months on suspicion of having stolen natural gas worth 30 billion roubles, and of creating a criminal grouping.

"Financial Times absolutely correctly associates the Arashukov family's case with the dispute over the Chechen gas debt. It was Ramzan Kadyrov who stirred up that hornets' nest. The Arashukov clan controlled all gas flows in Southern Russia, except for Chechnya and tried to enter the sphere of the Ramzan's interests. And that destroyed them," said Oleg Bondarenko, the director of the Progressive Policy Foundation, as quoted by the "Gazeta.Ru".

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on February 14, 2019 at 11:38 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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