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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Paper Raises Plight of Ailing Nursing Home

Residents of a Grozny nursing home who were evacuated to the neighboring republic of Ingushetia in December have been brought back to the city and are slowly wasting away for lack of food, drinking water or caregivers, Novaya Gazeta officials said Tuesday.

The newspaper is organizing a shipment of humanitarian aid for the 22 patients on Friday and is collecting donations of nonperishable food, medicine and clothes at its offices Wednesday.

The Katayama nursing home was caught in airstrikes on Grozny last fall. In late October, local teacher Natalya Astamirova drew attention to the plight of some 100 residents of the home when she brought a video of the frightened patients to Moscow.

In December, the anti-organized crime police from Ingushetia rescued the patients in a special operation.

Novaya Gazeta reporter Anna Politkovskaya said Tuesday that on a recent trip to Chechnya she was shocked to learn that some residents had been brought back to the starving city on June 26. She counted 22 people living at the home.

"They deceived them, telling them the building had been repaired and everything was safe," she said in a telephone interview. "When they got there, they found the building was falling down and there was no food."

Of the 100 people brought to Ingushetia last year, about 50 were sent to nursing homes in Tambov, Voronezh, Kaluga and other regions, Politkovskaya said. The rest stayed in Ingushetia at an orphanage and a home for the mentally ill, she said.

Politkovskaya said Nikolai Koshman, the former Kremlin representative to Chechnya, made the decision to bring those patients who had stayed in Ingushetia back to Grozny in order to prove that life was returning to normal in the former capital.

Koshman was dismissed in June.

"They fired Koshman and forgot about them," said Politkovskaya, who will be accompanying the aid shipment. "It didn’t occur to anyone in the new administration. They found out because I told them."

The journalist said that officials in Akhmad Kadyrov’s administration had told her that the federal government was sending funds and that they should be able to feed the patients in a few weeks.

Shamil Beno, the Chechen administration’s representative in Moscow, said the federal government was not doing enough for the Chechen population. He said he welcomed Novaya Gazeta’s efforts.

"This shows that post-Soviet society has a chance of survival," he said.

Yelena Sayanko, advertising manager at Novaya Gazeta, said the newspaper had already managed to collect a significant amount of aid, including clothing from Paninter, mineral water from Coca-Cola and medicine from Simplex pharmacy.

Readers have also generously responded to the call for help.

Bottled water, canned food, grains and basic medications that do not require refrigeration are still needed, newspaper employees said.

Donations will be accepted Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 3 Potapovsky Pereulok. Elderly, Disabled Trapped in Grozny, The Moscow Times, October 29, 1999 Novaya Gazeta