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    MOSCOW, March 10, 2004. (RIA Novosti correspondent) - Former federal minister for Chechen affairs Stanislav Ilyasov believes that the situation in Chechnya can be controlled within the Southern federal district, he told journalists on Wednesday.

    Former Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Yakovlev on Tuesday was appointed the Russian President's plenipotentiary in the district instead of Viktor Kazantsev. On Thursday he intends to leave for his new place of work, the district's administrative center, Rostov-on-Don.

    "It is no longer necessary to have a minister for Chechen affairs in the federal government," Mr. Ilyasov remarked.

    According to the ex minister, "at the first postwar stage, when there were no executive authorities in the republic, the federal minister was necessary." "At that time local bodies of power were not formed. Yet as the political issues, such as the president's election, the referendum, have been solved, the transitional period has passed," he pointed out.

    Now it is time to deal with economic issues, he believes, and the priorities are to achieve an economic breakthrough in the district, to solve the problems of migration and refugees, to prevent Russians from leaving the Caucasus so that there will not be "mononational" republics.

    Mr. Yakovlev's appointment will intensify the development of southern districts, Mr. Ilyasov believes.

    "The President has chosen a serious candidate to intensify work in the south," he said.

    He describes Mr. Yakovlev as "a strong professional". "He knows southern leaders. They know him well. He is a well known figure, a person with great experience," the ex minister believes.

    The work in the Caucasus has its specifics, he said. However, it will not be a problem "for such a wise man," he added.

    When speaking on his own future Mr. Ilyasov said that he was not considering any proposals to start working in Mr. Yakovlev's staff. "He [Yakovlev] should see for himself whom he needs, he will make it out on his own, he does not need hints," Mr. Ilyasov is positive. "I think that the region has received an economic manager, he will find good deputies and the work will start." At the same time, his own experience could be useful for the new government, he believes. "Over the last 20 years I have received many professions, have worked in the energy sphere and headed large committees," the ex minister recalled.

    "I have spent three and a half years at posts related to Chechnya and now I intend to get some rest. After all, it was not a resort, but a hot spot," Mr. Ilyasov explained.

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