Parliamentary questions E-1490/03 by Olivier Dupuis (NI) to the Commission and answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission
WRITTEN QUESTION E-1490/03
by Olivier Dupuis (NI) to the Commission
(2 May 2003)
Subject: Impact of the war in Chechnya on the Russian economy
In a recent interview for the "Ekho Moskvy" radio station, Mr Khasbulatov, former President of the Russian Supreme Council, stated that the first three to four months of the second Chechnyan war (August-November 1999) had cost some USD 3 billion and that the annual cost of the three years of war from 2000-2002 had been USD 10 to 13 billion. As for this year, the cost of the first three months is estimated at USD 3,5 billion.
Mr Khasbulatov also said that Russia's overall expenditure for these three-and-a half years of war, i.e. since the beginning of the second invasion and the occupation of Chechnya in 1999, was USD 40 billion. These are some of the figures contained in a report drawn up by Mr Ruslan Khasbulatov and Mr Ivan Rybkin under the title "Economic aspects of the war in Chechnya".
Has the Commission seen the report by Mr Khasbulatov and Mr Rybkin? If so, how does it view the report? Does it not consider that this expenditure is totally incompatible with the Russian economy's current state? Moreover, does it not consider that it is only through the economic and financial aid provided by the EU and its Member States that Russia is capable of spending such huge amounts in order to continue the war in Chechnya?
Answer given by Mr Patten
on behalf of the Commission
(21 May 2003)
The Commission deeply regrets the tragic situation which has existed in the Russian republic of Chechnya over the past decade. The ongoing conflict has entailed huge costs for both federal and local administrations and for the civilian population of Chechnya, in human, social and economic terms. The Commission hopes that the constitution adopted during the referendum held on 23 March 2003 will provide a platform for dialogue, reconciliation, restoration of the rule of law and effective protection of human rights in line with the statement made by President Putin on 16 March 2003. It will continue to raise the concerns which it has in this regard with the Russian authorities, in the context of the Union's political dialogue with Russia.
The Commission recalls that it has provided assistance via the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) to promote civil society, media freedom and respect for human rights in the north Caucasus throughout the period of conflict in Chechnya, with the aim of promoting a lasting peace in the region. The Commission notes that assistance provided to Russia via the Tacis programme aims, inter alia, at the promotion of civil society, the rule of law and public institutions, as well as assisting Russia's difficult political, economic and social transition.
The Commission notes the analysis presented by Mr Khasbulatov and Mr Rybkin. The Commission is unable to make a judgement on the estimated costs of the Russian Government's present policy in Chechnya or their impact on the wider economic situation. There is however no evidence that the Russian authorities present policy is dependent on financial assistance from the EU.
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