Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin met late on May 31 in Moscow with Eduard Kokoity and Vadim Brovtsev, president and prime minister, respectively, of the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia.
According to Putin's website
, their discussion focused on the failure of the South Ossetian leadership's failure to meet targets for the reconstruction of housing and infrastructure damaged or destroyed during the war with Georgia in August 2008.
To date, Russia, which recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states two weeks after the war, has provided 26 billion rubles ($835 million) in aid, but the pace of reconstruction is way behind schedule. Already last fall, people made homeless by the fighting took to the streets
The Russian daily "Kommersant" reported on June 2 that Putin also unceremoniously warned Kokoity to abandon his ongoing campaign to discredit Brovtsev
and force his dismissal. The daily quoted
an unidentified Russian government official as describing the talks as "tough, in the characteristic Putin style," and as predicting that Brovtsev will remain prime minister as long as Moscow considers expedient.
Kokoity, however, told Interfax that the "very fruitful" meeting with Putin focused exclusively on economic coordination between Russia and South Ossetia. He explicitly denied
that any issues relating to members of the South Ossetian government were raised, and he dismissed as "absolutely at odds with reality" Russian media reports to the contrary.