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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

7 Envoys Get Thumbs Up

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President Vladimir Putin gave high marks Saturday to the group of regional envoys he appointed one year ago to help cement his grip on the country.

The move was one of the first steps Putin took after his inauguration as president last May. He said then that Russia would be torn asunder if the Kremlin did not keep tabs on the 89 regions.

"We have managed to halt the processes of disintegration that were taking place," Putin told his seven envoys in televised remarks as he opened a meeting in the Kremlin to mark the first year since their appointment. Putin praised the team, made up mostly of army and security generals, for having moved quickly on their main task of bringing local legislation in line with federal laws.

"This was your priority task and on the whole you have fulfilled it," he said.

But Putin also told the envoys that raising living standards in the regions was their most important task. "There can be no other task," Putin said.

"If the living standard parameters keep rising, it will mean that our common goal is showing results," Putin told the envoys, according to Interfax.

He also urged them not to slow the pace of their work and "be on the offensive." Putin said he was happy the envoys had largely managed to avoid antagonizing regional leaders and described his decision to set up the super-regions, which critics have said was unconstitutional, as "right and justified."

The move, coupled with the eviction of regional bosses from the Federation Council, allowed Putin to restore control over regions that overstepped their authority under President Boris Yeltsin.

Putin said despite having avoided the worst in relations with governors, some tensions remained between them and his representatives who sometimes meddled too much in what was not their business.

"Sometimes, regretfully, the representatives of the president go beyond that line where clear prerogatives of the regional leaders lie," Itar-Tass quoted Putin as telling reporters. "That is wrong."

(Reuters, AP)