PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: Good afternoon, dear colleagues,

We are meeting here today, as we agreed during my last visit to Grozny, in order to discuss the full range of socio-economic development issues facing the Republic of Chechnya. Most important of all right now is to speed up the pace of work on the main areas so that people will be able to see visible signs of progress in resolving the economic and social tasks the republic must address.

I ask you, and here I am addressing both the federal authorities and the regional authorities, the republic’s authorities, to also maintain attention on fulfilling commitments to the republic’s people: I am referring here to the payment of benefits, pensions, compensation for lost housing and property. This all needs to be very rigorously monitored, of course.

We need to work together to put in place serious measures to ensure that the financial and material resources allocated to the republic are protected from non-rational use and from, let us be honest, misuse and corruption. Not one rouble should be wasted or spent on purposes other than that which it was allocated for.

Of course, the primary condition for stable development is stability in the republic itself. The federal authorities have undertaken much of late to ensure this stability, but above all, it is the citizens of Russia living in Chechnya, the Chechen people themselves, who have contributed to this process.

The republic has now formed all the branches of power – the executive and the representative branches of power. The election of the parliament marked the completion of the process of forming legitimate bodies of power in Chechnya. The task now is to strengthen this power system, coordinate its activities and organise effective work for the good of the people of Chechnya.

Overall, it is important now to make state management and budget planning more effective and put in place better mechanisms for developing, implementing and monitoring reconstruction programmes.

Let us now look at each of these issues in detail, and let us also not forget the routine issues that are also of great concern. I am thinking in particular here of children’s welfare. If the republic’s leadership thinks that more assistance is needed from Moscow to address the problems of the children who have fallen sick in circumstances that are as yet not entirely clear, we will do everything we can: we will send additional medical personnel and send the necessary medicines. If necessary, we will transport the children to Moscow or send them for treatment to other Russian cities. Most important is to identify as quickly as possible the causes of this situation.

So, let us begin with the subject announced, and I would like to give the floor to the President of Chechnya.