THE NORTHERN CAUCASUS: AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH. SYSTEMS ANALYSIS AND THE PARADOXES OF STATISTICS
Denga Khalidov, D.Sc. (Political Science), Head of the Scientific-Project Council of the All-Russia Movement “The Russian Congress of the Peoples of the Caucasus” (Makhachkala, Russian Federation)
The newly established North Caucasian Federal Okrug (NCFO) is a sure sign that Moscow has finally accepted, albeit indirectly, the fact that its undifferentiated methodological and conceptual approach to the region’s numerous ills was too limited to be successful. The discussion, however, went along the beaten track: “efficiency of federal investments and control over them” and “more money is needed.” In other words, everything boils down to social and economic measures, larger investments, and tighter control over the local bureaucracy and the way the budget money is spent. Nothing has been said so far about a changed format of counterterrorist operations (CTO) and the need to take into account the local social, political, and cultural specifics. This creates a déjà vu effect: an unsystemic approach, vulgar interpretations of Marxism, and concentration on the financial and economic factors to the detriment of all other regional specifics.
A correctly identified problem, meanwhile, is half the battle. The present article does not claim an exhaustive analysis: this is an attempt to identify the factors and causes of regional instability and some of the remedies. This calls for an integral idea of the regional context and the way certain factors contribute to the present socioeconomic, cultural, educational, and political instability.
The target of the present article is the NCFO republics and partly the Stavropol Territory.
The subject of my analysis is the region’s social structure, the social and political situation, and the way they contribute to the region’s chronic instability.
1. The Law of Double Dissimilarity
The very fact that the problem of the Northern Caucasus had been on the agenda for twenty years now shows that what has been going on there was and is inadequately interpreted and addressed. Numerous methodological traps and blunders are rooted in the Soviet past, while the sum-total of systemic interconnections is pushed to the margins of any analysis.
What does such an analysis say?
It says that the very specific social and cultural structures (behavior, moral values, and customs) of the local societies, the way the local elite takes shape, and the contradictions between the federal laws and the legitimate (locally accepted) legal norms are behind the problems of regional administration.
The local social structures (with the exception of the Stavropol Territory and the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania) are very different from the rest of……….