President Vladimir Putin congratulated Akhmat Kadyrov on the results of the March 23 republican referendum when the majority of the Chechen population supported the draft republican constitution and bills on electing the local bodies of state authority.
The Russian leader stressed that the referendum’s results proved that the population trusted the authorities and made it possible to launch a new phase of the regional political settlement. In connection with this, Mr Putin said it was necessary to promptly finalise an agreement on dividing powers between the federal Government and Chechnya, to hold republican presidential elections as soon as possible and to transfer law-enforcement functions to local police divisions.
President Putin said Chechen socio-economic recovery remained a serious problem, that the authorities must restore the republic’s populated areas and industrial infrastructure, and promptly compensate the people for damaged housing.
Although the Government had compiled lists of homeless individuals and approved a federal programme on aiding the Chechen population in 2003, compensation was delayed. The President said this cautious approach was partly explained by the lack of clear political development prospects for Chechnya and by the possible destruction of restored facilities because of new terrorist acts. On March 23, the Chechen nation finally opted for peace, President Putin said. In connection with this, Mr Putin noted the need for expedited compensation payments. The first part of the budgetary allocations for restoring homes and apartments in the Chechen Republic will be transferred to the accounts of direct financial-aid recipients before the year is out and the rest will be paid throughout 2004.
The Russian leader also noted the need for safe and reliable compensation payments.