MOSCOW, August 23 (Itar-Tass) —— North Caucasian republics cannot be dissociated from Russia, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told Chechen journalists on Tuesday.
“There is a number of very important and pressing problems for whole Russia, not just the North Caucasus and Chechnya,” he said. “These include the combating of corruption and the provision of justice for average Russian citizens regardless the place of their residence, religion and nationality. The authorities of the Chechen Republic, the same as any other constituent of the Russian Federation, must combat negative phenomena in order to fulfill their duty to citizens.”
Putin welcomed the development of Chechnya. “This year alone 16 schools will be built, the Pedagogical University will develop, a new building of the Grozny State University will be put into service, there will be nine new hospitals and a maternity hospital, as well as plenty of other social sites Chechnya needs. The republican budget had a 6 billion-ruble surplus in the first half of this year. All that is a proof of expertly management,” Putin said.
“The number of cattle is growing in Chechnya, alongside the production of meat and other agricultural products. There are problems too, such as unemployment. The country’s unemployment rate is 1.8%, while the rate is 38% in Chechnya. That is too much,” Putin said.
At the same time, the general trend is positive, he said. “Investments are being made in industries and tourism. If the trend continues, and there are grounds to believe it will, the number of jobless people will reduce. I do not doubt that,” the premier said.
He made a harsh comment on the opinion of certain political experts and public figures that the North Caucasus should be cut off from Russia. “Those who say that must be cut off themselves because they do not understand what they say. As soon as a country starts disconnecting problem territories that would be the beginning of the country’s end. Some small republics in the North Caucasus cannot exist as independent states; they will fall under mental and economic occupation of certain forces from the near and far abroad and will be used as an instrument of destabilization in Russia. That will cause nothing but tragedy for Russia,” he said.