Putin holds troubled caucasus under his thumb

Vladimir Putin interfered in the conflict between South Ossetia’s President Eduard Kokoity and its Prime Minister Vadim Brovtsev.

It was a key issue at the special meeting between Putin and Kokoity in Moscow on Tuesday evening. Putin asked Kokoity to stop attempts to displace Brovtsev and told him to focus on recovering the regional economy in which Moscow had invested almost $1 billion for.

Vadim Brovstev and Roman Panov, deputy Regional Development Minister who oversees South Ossetia were also present at the meeting.

“We gathered to see how our common plans on the republic’s recovery are being realised,” Putin said.

A source in the Russian government told Kommersant daily that Putin denounced recent attempts by the South Ossetian parliament to topple Brovtsev’s government. “The question was discussed toughly, Putin-style,” said the source.

It was decided that Brovtsev’s government will continue working and local staff, including Kokoity, will stop interfering. “Most likely there will be no more resignations in South Ossetia’s government and Brovstev himself will work as long as Moscow tells, and not Kokoity,” a source in South Ossetia government told the daily.

Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s press secretary, only said that “the issue of cooperation between South Ossetia and the Russian authorities” was discussed.

The Russian premier said at the meeting that Russia gave South Ossetia a whopping 26 billion roubles ($834 million) since August 2008, which is a large amount for a country with only 30,000 people; it is almost 900,000 roubles per person ($29,000). Russian money accounts for 93.8 per cent of South Ossetia’s budget, reported Vremya Novostei.

He criticised the housing development and admitted that out of 322 houses that should have been ready by the end of last year, only 110 houses were actually restored.

Brovtsev’s problems with local authorities started this spring. Local media launched a war against Brovtsev and his team from Chelyabinsk region where he used to be the head of a construction company. The parliament started gathering signatures for his resignation in April.

Kokoity himself admitted to Vlast magazine that Brovtsev was appointed by the Kremlin. His main task as prime minister was to control the money flow from Moscow.

“After the war a lot of money disappeared there. And Brovtsev placed his people on key positions and sorted out the mess, which caused discontent among the locals,” a source in Regional Development Ministry told the daily.

However, parliament gave up the idea of no-confidence vote after Kokoity defended Brovtsev, but promised to come back to it, reported Kommersant.

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Putin holds troubled caucasus under his thumb