Page last updated at 21:08 GMT, Friday, 27 March 2009

Russia hints at Chechen changes

Russian President, Dimitry  Medvedev.
Mr Medvedev warned other "anti-terrorism" campaigns would go on

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says life in Chechnya is returning to normal and it might be time to end the security restrictions imposed there.

The restrictions have been in force for the past 10 years.

They include curfews, road blocks and occasional searches by the security forces for suspected Islamist fighters.

"The situation in Chechnya has normalised to a large degree," Mr Medvedev said in a broadcast on state televsision.

"We must create new possibilities for investment and employment."

He was speaking after talks with the head of the Russian Security Service, Alexander Bortnikov.

But while both men spoke in favour of loosening restrictions in Chehcnya, Mr Medvedev also warned that the fight against what he called terrorism would not stop or slow down - an apparent reference to the southern republics of Ingushetia and Dagestan where violence is continuing.

Russian forces have fought two major campaigns in Chechnya against separatist rebels since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The current administration in Chechnya, led by a former rebel, Ramzan Kadyrov, has been criticised by some civil rights groups for the way it has dealt with its political opponents.

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