Chechnya future could hold chairlifts and chalets

President vows to turn embattled region into ski destination

Forget France and Switzerland. If Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov has his way, tourists will one day line up to ski the slopes in a region known more for its conflict than mountains. Kadyrov recently outlined his plan to turn Russia’s volatile southern republic into a premier ski destination in an interview with Russian media: “The climate is wonderful, there’s beautiful nature. If the infrastructure were established, then we wouldn’t be worse than any of the resorts in France or Switzerland.” But before the region can turn its attention to establishing a ski resort, many say it must first address lingering violence, the result of two wars and a continuing Islamic insurgency. Last week, the president stated his intention to snuff out Dokka Umarov, the self-proclaimed “Emir of the Caucasus,” who claimed responsibility for the bombing of a passenger train between Moscow and St. Petersburg in November, and is believed to be holed up in the mountains. Nevertheless, Kadyrov says he’s attracted financial support from donors. “Soon we will begin to build these resorts and all the necessary conditions to [sic] for the development of tourism in the Chechen republic will be established,” he says.

ABC News