Putin calls for rapid payment of damages for lost housing in Chechnya

Russian President Vladimir Putin believes that a greater part of responsibility for maintaining law and order in Chechnya can now be handed by federal law-enforcement agencies over to the republican. He made the point as he spoke Thursday with Ahmad Kadyrov, head of the Chechen interim administration. Another key priority in Chechnya should be the revival of the republican economy, Putin said. He placed particular emphasis on the need to rapidly pay damages for lost housing. He said a list of Chechen residents eligible for such compensations had been drawn up some time ago, but that not many of them had received their due as yet. Federal agencies were cautious about speeding up the process as long as it remained unclear where the republic was going, the head of state explained. But the March 23 referendum showed that the Chechen people wanted peace brought back into their republic, so the federal center can and must proceed more rapidly on the payments now. President Putin proposed that lost housing damages be paid in two stages-half of the due sum this year and the remaining half, the next. He underscored the importance of protecting the funds to be paid in damages against corruption and embezzlement. Republican and local authorities of Chechnya must make sure the compensation money won't fall into the wrong hands, he pointed out. Kadyrov promised to the federal president that the Chechen government would do its best to ensure that all those entitled to a compensation would get it.