- Title: RUSSIA-CHECHNYA/WOMEN-ONLY BEACH Women-only beach opens in Chechnya
- Date: 11th August 2015
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) LEILA, GROZNY RESIDENT, SAYING: "I like it (the beach) very much, it is really beautiful here. I am grateful to Aimany (mother of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov) and to Ramzan Kadyrov." VARIOUS OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN WATER BOY SLIDING INTO WATER WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN WATER
- Embargoed: 26th August 2015 13:00
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVAE1BAOLD9O62ZL4R8LKAHY2N80
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Away from the gaze of men, women in Checnya can now relax at a reservoir women-only beach in the capital Grozny.
The beach occupies 2,500 square meters along the shore of the so-called Grozny Sea - a large artificial water reservoir at the heart of a new recreational centre.
Prior to the beach opening the reservoir was dried up, its bottom cleaned and covered with sand and shells brought from the Caspian Sea. Then it was re-filled with fresh water.
The women-only beach is two kilometres away from the men's beach and is surrounded by a three-meter-high wall.
The beach-opening ceremony was attended by women and girls and a few male officials and dancers.
"Now without leaving our republic we can recreate in a calm way here on the territory of our republic, relax together with our family. We can come here to swim in a place which is far away from men's eyes," said a woman addressing the predominantly female audience.
Many women who were soaking up the sun praised Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and his mother Aimany for building the new facility.
"The head of our republic Ramzan Akhmadovich (Kadyrov) has organised for us, women, this wonderful place where we can relax, bring our children, where we can really relax - and we are very pleased with it. We would like this beach to be free of charge, and for it to be preserved, to remain as beautiful and as clean as it is now," said Zara Akhmadova, a Grozny resident, sitting on a bench overlooking the beach.
"I like it (the beach) very much, it is really beautiful here. I am grateful to Aimany (mother of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov) and to Ramzan Kadyrov," said an elderly woman from Grozny, Leila, who brought her grandchildren to swim in the Grozny sea.
According to the administration of the new recreational centre, lifeguards at the new beach will be specially-trained women.
Some males nonetheless will be able to go to the women-only beach - but only if they are under twelve and accompanied by their mother.
The opening of men and women-only beaches in Grozny is the first step in construction of a large recreational cluster which will include hotels, a floating restaurant, a sports centre, a dolphinarium, and a music fountain which will become the main attraction.
Kadyrov professes loyalty to Putin but enjoys a large degree of autonomy to run his mainly Muslim region. The former amateur boxer has ruled Chechnya since 2007, bringing relative peace to a region wracked by two separatist wars, but drawing criticism from human rights groups because of his heavy-handed methods.
Kremlin-backed Kadyrov opposes an insurgency that aims to carve out an Islamist state in the mostly Muslim North Caucasus, but has cultivated his own brand of Islam which critics say contradicts the Russian law.
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