Officials in Moscow are urging the Chechen authorities to walk back a recent court decision that forgave 9 billion rubles ($135.3 million) in debt owed to a Gazprom subsidiary by local customers. The Grozny court’s ruling granted a request by Chechen prosecutors to cancel the debt on the grounds that its statute of limitations had expired. Prosecutors also warned that the debt “had created social tensions and could provoke protests.”
On January 22, Gazprom Deputy Chief Executive Valery Golubev announced that the company is appealing the Grozny court’s decision, calling the ruling an affront to Gazprom’s millions of paying clients. That same day, the Attorney General’s Office ordered local prosecutors in Chechnya to reverse their position and support Gazprom’s appeal. Gazprom says the Grozny court miscalculated the debt’s statute of limitations and failed to establish that the debt is unrecoverable.
The Attorney General’s Office says it will investigate the Chechen prosecutors’ “unfounded” court appeal that began this process.