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Ingushetia leader dismisses government over corruption

RIA Novosti

17:59 05/10/2009 MAGAS, October 5 (RIA Novosti) - The leader of Russia's volatile southern republic of Ingushetia dismissed the government on Monday, citing its failure to tackle socio-economic problems and corruption.

"The main reason behind the decision was the Cabinet's unsatisfactory performance, including in the socio-economic sphere and agriculture," presidential press secretary Kaloi Akhilgov said.

An official statement on the republic's website later also pointed to corruption as another reason for the dismissal.

Ingushetia, one of Russia's poorest regions and situated in the mainly Muslim North Caucasus, has been hit by a series of high-profile attacks on troops, police and other officials recently. Violence has been linked to separatists in neighboring Chechnya and local inter-clan rivalry.

Ingushetian President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov warned about Cabinet reshuffles in August after returning from a Moscow hospital where he had undergone treatment after surviving a suicide car bomb attack on his motorcade in June.

In August, the republic was hit by another suicide bombing which killed at least 20 police officers.

President Dmitry Medvedev sacked Ingushetia's interior minister in the wake of the attack and criticized the performance of local police.

A leading Russian expert welcomed the move on Monday, saying the republic needs radical change.

"Ingushetia remains one of the most problem-stricken regions, with no basic elements of civil society - a grave heritage left by the Chechnya campaign and previous rulers," Boris Makarenko, head of the Center for Political Technology think-tank, said.

He said Ingushetia has ceased to be a state entity. "Legitimate bodies have been replaced by clan structures, in the medieval and modern meanings of the word."

Makarenko also suggested that the attempt on Yevkurov came after he had begun to carry out changes in the republic. He said the attack on police headquarters in August was a sign of a pervasive crisis. "Radical changes are obviously needed," the analyst said.

Yevkurov has appointed local Security Council chief Alexei Vorobyov as acting prime minister.

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