With secret investors and no clear way to make a profit, the $1bn Akhmat Tower may represent something murkier than Chechnya’s post-war rebirth
Billed as the tallest building in Europe at 102 storeys and a staggering cost of $1bn, it is the embodiment of the city’s feverish aspirations to become a kind of Dubai in the North Caucasus.
Beyond the secrecy around the building’s investors there are other hints that this isn’t your average business development.
The project points to Kadyrov’s ambition for the city to take on an international veneer, modelled on Dubai, that began with the glass towers of the Grozny-City building complex. A deeply coveted sense of internationalism is also lent by the hiring of a firm led by Adrian Smith, the architect behind Dubai’s Burj Khalifa and the Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia.
Asked about the comparison made between the city and Dubai, Elina Bataeva, the director of a state-backed tour developer, said she supported the development in the city but it helped to keep things in perspective. “People do come just to see Grozny-City. A lot of Russians who haven’t been to Dubai like to compare it. I’ve been to Dubai, so I know it’s not quite Dubai,” she said laughing. “But there is something to the city and the people.”