Bomb carnage at airport proves Russia is losing separatist battle
Published 26/01/2011 | 05:00
If terrorists had not just bombed Moscow's busiest airport, Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, would have been in Davos, Switzerland, today to play salesman for a scheme of almost outlandish ambition.
Primed with a glitzy presentation package, he planned to persuade investors to stump up as much as £10bn (€11.5bn) to build ski resorts in five of the seven semi-autonomous republics that make up Russia's troubled North Caucasus region.
On paper, the project sounds tempting. Russia predicts that the resorts would draw five million tourists a year and that investors would recoup their initial outlay within a decade. Some members of the World Economic Forum listening in Davos would have felt obliged to lend their support, of course -- the price of profiting from Russia's riches is often to indulge the Kremlin's whims. Yet even the dutiful would have had misgivings. According to human rights groups, at least 110 civilians were killed, either by Islamist insurgents or Russian security services, in the North Caucasus last year.