Ramzan Kadyrov in Grozny on February 19 (epa)
February 19, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Chechnya's newly appointed acting president, Ramzan Kadyrov, has called for a new economic strategy to reduce the republic's financial dependence on Moscow, RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service reports.
Kadyrov made the announcement today at the start of a three-day forum in Grozny devoted to improving living standards in the war-ravaged republic.
Kadyrov said Chechnya needs to develop its own economy, in particular its oil sector. He vowed to complete Grozny's reconstruction by 2008.
The forum also explored ways to clear Chechnya of mines.
Dozens of economists, political analysts, and reporters have flown from Moscow to attend the forum.
Kadyrov dances at the reopening of Grozny Airport
Ever since his father, pro-Kremlin Chechen President Akhmed-Hadji Kadyrov was killed in a May 2004 bomb blast in Grozny, Ramzan Kadyrov has risen to prominence.
In March 2006, First Deputy Prime Minister Kadyrov, who heads a personal army of 10,000 heavily armed fighters, was named prime minister. His reign as premier has been characterized by divisions in the Chechen leadership and accusations of torture. But he has also been credited with improving living standards in the republic.
In October, he turned 30, clearing the way for running for president.
The fighting in Chechnya
has raged, with short breaks, since 1994. It has brought misery, death, and destruction to the North Caucasus republic and to Russia as a whole. View an annotated timeline
of the conflict.