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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Moves for Order in Chechnya

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President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree giving more powers to Kremlin-appointed leaders in Chechnya, part of wider plans to rejuvenate the region and show the bloody conflict with rebels is in its final stages

The decree is part of moves to establish law and order and government control in Chechnya and get the region, shattered by two Kremlin crackdowns since 1994, back on its feet.

On Thursday, Putin told ministers to draft proposals on reducing troops and creating an economic recovery program, after approving a political, economic and military restructuring plan presented by Akhmad Kadyrov, the Kremlin-appointed leader of Chechnya's regional administration.

Sergei Yastrzhembsky, the Kremlin's chief spokesman on Chechnya, told a news conference Friday that the plan aimed to reintegrate the region's political and legal system with that in the rest of Russia and to prepare a new constitution.

Kadyrov told the news conference his plan had "full support and understanding from the president," and that stability in Chechnya could allow regional elections in the next year or two.

Putin appointed Stanislav Ilyasov on Friday as head of the Chechen government. Ilyasov told the news conference he would work with Kadyrov to pull Chechnya out of seven years of misery.

"My main task is to change the situation from a military to a civil one," said the 47-year-old former vice president of national electricity utility Unified Energy Systems.

Federal troops nominally control Chechnya but its forces, which analysts say may number around 90,000, fall victim almost daily to ambushes and mines. They have particular difficulty maintaining their hold on remote mountain areas south of Grozny.

Kadyrov wants Moscow to scale down its forces to focus on pursuing Chechnya's rebel leaders and backs the formation of local units to fight terrorism and crime in the region.

Yastrzhembsky said about 22,000 men had returned to base so far but vowed more focused "special operations against leaders of bandit formations whose activities must be stopped."

"It is obvious that the military phase of operations was concluded some time ago. A lot of large and medium-sized rebel bands have been crushed and quite a lot of so-called brigade commanders and generals have been killed recently."

Yastrzhembsky said he had no new information on kidnapped U.S. aid worker Kenny Gluck, after Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo said Thursday that special forces had information on the location and identity of his abductors.

The Kremlin-appointed minister for Chechnya, Vladimir Yelagin, said reconstruction must focus on reviving the energy sector and farming, and providing housing, hospitals and schools.

Kadyrov's plan is in line with recommendations by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, a rights body that last year revoked Russia's voting rights over allegations of massacres in Chechnya.