Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 194

A joint action program has been signed in Moscow by representatives of the Russian Federation, North Ossetia, and Ingushetia, aimed at overcoming the consequences of the Ossetian-Ingush conflict. The document was signed by Russian prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and the Presidents of North Ossetia and Ingushetia, Akhsarbek Galazov and Ruslan Aushev.

The program stipulates that the Russian government, in accordance with the instructions of the Russian president, must include in its budget 190 billion rubles to go to the republics of North Ossetia and Ingushetia for reconstruction work and compensation for citizens who have suffered damages as a result of the Ossetian-Ingush conflict. This year, 200 billion rubles were allocated for this purpose. There are plans for a system of personal accounts whereby people who lost their houses in the conflict will be given incentives to rebuild them, with money being deposited in the accounts in stages. (Nezavisimaya gazeta, October 17)

As the experience of all previous Ossetian-Ingush negotiations shows, the fact that a document has been signed is no guarantee that it will be enforced. On paper, Moscow has traditionally allocated imposing sums to liquidate the consequences of the conflict; in reality, little more than 15 percent of the money ever reaches its destination. Even the fact that, this time, money for refugees is included in the agreement is no guarantee that the money will actually be spent.

There is, however, one substantially new element in the present agreement. From now on, money will be given directly to the refugees and they can decide where they will rebuild their houses. Vladikavkaz stubbornly insisted on this approach to the problem. "If the Ingush refugees receive the money directly, they can decide to build their houses, not where they were — where, unfortunately, they could have problems with their Ossetian neighbors — but, for example, in Ingushetia. This would be a significant step toward stabilizing the situation," the chief of administration of Prigorodny district, Pavel Tedeev, told the Monitor.

Clearly, this decision to open personal accounts for refugees will reduce the number of Ingush repatriates to North Ossetia, which is what Vladikavkaz was striving for. But the fact that many Ingush refugees may decide to settle in Ingushetia is undoubtedly of no benefit to Ingushetia, where the unemployment rate is over 50 percent.

The result of the present talks is a clear diplomatic success for Vladikavkaz. But it is still too early to draw a final conclusion: the money has yet to reach its intended recipients.

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