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N. Caucasus Problems Prompted By Federal Authorities' Political Mistakes - Duma Deputies

Russian Security Forces Armed and Wearing Combat Gear Entering Back of Building in North CaucasusMOSCOW. Feb 28 (Interfax) - The extremely difficult situation in the North Caucasus has been prompted by systemic mistakes by Russian authorities, in the view of certain State Duma deputies.

"What is currently happening in the North Caucasus republics cannot be explained only by socioeconomic difficulties typical for this region. This is a result of the authorities' systemic mistakes and errors, and this means that this issue is no longer socioeconomic but a political one," Gennady Gudkov of the Fair Russia parliamentary group, a deputy head of the security committee, told Interfax on Saturday.

It is wrong to look for ways to normalize the situation in the North Caucasus separately from "resolving the long-standing problems of the entire country," he said.

"Someone might think I am exaggerating, but I am firmly convinced that we cannot resolve the problem of the North Caucasus without seriously and tangibly reforming the political system in the entire country," Gudkov said.

"This should be started with the normalization of elections of all levels, then it's necessary to switch to a reform of the judicial system and simultaneously fight corruption, which cannot be accomplished without parliamentary control over public officials of all levels," he said.

"If we don't do this, we will only see the expansion of terrorist activities both geographically and in terms of their scale, and this won't be limited only within the North Caucasus," he said.

Another Russian parliamentarian, deputy head of the State Duma constitutional legislation committee Viktor Ilyukhin of the Communist faction, told Interfax, "Our federal authorities have still not given clear answers to a number of extremely important questions, like from where weapons are supplied to the North Caucasus militants, how much of them they have, how money and food are transferred to them, and so on."

"Let me remind you that Soviet Defense Minister (Yevgeny) Shaposhnikov and his successor Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev abandoned 56,000 firearms while withdrawing Russian troops from the North Caucasus region in the early 1990s," Ilyukhin said.

The new Russian authorities have failed to put a reliable barrier on the way of "various supplies for the militants," who are mainly coming from Georgian territory, Ilyukhin said.

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