21 december 2009

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin meets with Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov have discussed social and economic issues in the Chechen Republic.

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, Mr Kadyrov. What is the situation in the republic on the eve of the new year? What results have you achieved as we approach the holiday season? What can you say about the socio-economic situation?

Ramzan Kadyrov: Mr Putin, we have achieved good results in resolving social issues. We have fully restored healthcare centres and rebuilt higher and secondary educational institutions.

I can say that over the last year we have resolved all our social issues, although economic problems still leave much to be desired. As always, today I would like to ask for your assistance.

I'm convinced that people in the republic are content with their current lives because they are confident about tomorrow.

On the eve of the new year I visited all Chechen cities and villages. People are intent on a peaceful life and want to help the republic's leaders.

Vladimir Putin: Good. We always discuss employment as a major problem in Chechnya and the rest of the North Caucasus. How are you tackling it? The past year was difficult because of the global financial and economic downturn, and the number of unemployed has increased. How is the situation in Chechnya?

Ramzan Kadyrov: Mr Putin, in accordance with your instructions we are making a major effort to resolve this problem. Russia's leading banks have already started signing contracts with us to finance our priority projects. We are also trying to attract investment in order to create more jobs.

We have analyzed this problem and we are making progress. Last year the unemployment rate was 60%, whereas now it is 40% to 45%. This includes both permanent and temporary employment. We expect great success and are focusing on next year.

Vladimir Putin: Are you working with the federal government to implement the programme to encourage job growth? Have you been allocated funds for this purpose?

Ramzan Kadyrov: Yes, the funds have been allocated. But I must say, Mr Putin, that the programme has been slashed because of the crisis. I have written a letter to you so that you would pay a little attention to us, considering that we are building the republic's economy from scratch. Other regions already have their economies, but we live in a post-war republic and must rebuild the economy.

Vladimir Putin: But on the other hand you can rebuild everything with a fresh start.