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MOSCOW, August 22 (Itar-Tass) - Acting Ingushetia President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov said his republic is the safest region in the North Caucasus.
"We've led the North Caucasus in terms of safety in the past six months," Yevkurov underlined at a news conference at Itar-Tass on Thursday.
In his opinion, "this level of safety is a result of a range of measures taken by the republic's leadership in the past few years. These include interaction with federal and local law-enforcement bodies, strict compliance with law, close contacts with the population and the political will.
"I'm an advocate of fight against all kinds of crimes and support preventive measures. World experience shows that prevention is crucial for overcoming crime and defeating gangsters. I believe that the work with gunmen's relatives and the persons sympathizing with them, along with village meetings and communication with residents has had a large role to play," Yevkurov said.
He also stated the necessity to secure inevitability of punishment.
"We are not trying to defend the gangsters who have been killed or accuse police who have killed them very harshly. We support law-enforcers. Of course, it would have been impossible to achieve without inevitability of punishment," Yevkurov said.
"The society provided assistance. Residents help solve 70 to 80 percent of crimes. Their tips helped police kill groups of gunmen in wooded areas.
However, Yevkurov acknowledged problems in the work with population. "In my opinion, our efforts regarding the awareness campaign among the relatives of those who have been killed or arrested or are wanted is insufficient. We have to step them up. The relatives are many. In any case, they (relatives) might influence the criminals."
"Saying that gangsters have no nationality is ridiculous. They have relatives, families, clans and nationality. We cannot ignore it; we have to acknowledge it and work on," the Ingush leader said.
According to Yevkurov, the unemployment rate in the republic has decreased to 30,000 people, a two-times decrease in the past four years.
In 2009, Ingushetia reported 63,000 unemployed. "A decrease in the number of unemployed people was achieved thanks to a range of measures, such as development of small and medium businesses in the country.
"We provide special support to those who engage in business, because they contribute new jobs," Yevkurov added.
Private investment played an important role in combating unemployment. For example, the investment potential of the 50-hectare Karabulak industrial site is used to the fullest extent.
Commenting on the programme of relocating jobless Ingushes, Yevkurov said that initially there were 600 families wishing to leave the republic.
"An agreement was signed with the Sverdlovsk region where many Ingush settled. Also, many residents work for oil companies under rotational team method and travel to the regions accommodating factories of large firms. "The republic has an accord with plants that produce Kamaz trucks and Fords in Tatarstan," the acting Ingush president noted.
On the Ossetian-Ingush conflict, Yevkurov said the federal center should take responsibility for mitigating its consequences.
During the October-November 1992 conflict, 70,000 Ingush were driven out of North Ossetia's Prigorodny district. Their houses were demolished and looted. Some 500 people died in the conflict, and 1,000 were injured. One hundred and eighty are still missing.
"The federal center should take up such issues and admit the error by the political leadership," Yevkurov said. "The consequences have not been eliminated; there remain problems, such as refugees' returning to their homes and compensation for lost property. The payment of at least minimal compensation should become a priority."