RUSSIA’S POLITICS IN THE NORTHERN CAUCASUS: SYSTEMIC CRISIS AND HOW TO OVERCOME IT
Sergey Markedonov, Ph.D. (Hist.), head of the Department of Ethnic Relations, Institute of Political and Military Analysis (Moscow, Russia)
Today, the social and political situation in the Russian Northern Caucasus is becoming increasingly unstable. It is no longer the problem of a gradually rising number of terrorist and other extremist acts and radical political initiatives—it is a widespread systemic crisis of Russia’s North Caucasian policy and its key elements (administration, appointments, and ideology). In the absence of anti-crisis measures, the continuing crisis trends are fraught with unpredictable results.
It would be methodologically wrong, though, to look at the region as the “breeding soil” of terrorism and extremism. The North Caucasian situation not only reflects the problems of Russia’s domestic policies and its “ailments”—it makes them even worse. The re-division of property is accompanied by assassination of the losers; the power struggle goes hand in hand with ethnic and religious conflicts; and the privatization of power is tinged with clan and tribal hues.
In 2005, several local ethnic conflicts (believed to be frozen since the mid-1990s) were reloaded. The Battle of Borozdinovskaia, in the course of which the Iamadaev brothers “mopped up” a village populated by ethnic Daghestanis, worsened the already………………..