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Russian President Visits Troubled Ingushetia Region

Ingushetian President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov was appointed by Medvedev in October
MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has visited the southern region of Ingushetia and pledged to spend billions of rubles on the republic, where violence has threatened to dent the Kremlin's control.

In an apparently unrelated incident, news agencies reported on January 20 that gunmen had shot and wounded a senior official from one of Ingushetia's regions in his car on the outskirts of the town of Nazran.

"Despite the fact that we don't have the simplest financial situation at the moment, we have allocated 29 billion rubles [$881.5 million], and this is big money," Medvedev said during a televised meeting with Ingushetia's President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov.

He did not specify when the money would be allocated or how it would be spent, other than to improve socioeconomic conditions in one of Russia's poorest regions and to fight an insurgency.

Russian forces have been fighting a rebel insurgency in Ingushetia that gathered momentum last year. Analysts blamed security forces' heavy-handed raids on locals for feeding the insurgency.

"The situation today is very complicated and it's necessary to impose extraordinary measures," news agencies quoted Medvedev as saying.

Medvedev replaced Ingushetia's highly unpopular leader Murat Zyazikov in October with Yevkurov, a tough ex-paratroop commander. Activists say the bomb attacks and kidnaps that had become a part of everyday life have dropped off since then.