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Russia/North Caucasus

CrisisWatch Russia/North Caucasus

Unchanged Situation

Govt’s barring of most independent candidates from Sept local elections sparked mass protests in capital Moscow, which police violently suppressed, arresting over 1,300 protesters. After authorities banned over 30 independent candidates from running in 8 Sept elections for Moscow’s city legislature, protests began mid-July. Authorities night of 24-25 July arrested opposition party leaders, including main opposition leader Aleksei Navalny, detained for 30 days, for planning to lead non-authorised protests. Shortly after his arrest, Navalny was hospitalised for one day 28 July for severe swelling; doctor said he had been exposed to “toxic agent”. Police suppressed mass protests in Moscow 27 July, assaulting protesters and arresting over 1,300. In North Caucasus region, Islamic State (ISIS) claimed deadly grenade attack at police station in Chechnya and authorities continued to arrest journalists and activists. In Chechnya, unidentified assailant 1 July attacked police post in Achkhoi-Martan district with knife and grenade, killing one police officer and injuring several others, before police shot him dead; ISIS claimed responsibility. In Ingushetia, authorities in Nazran 12 July arrested and detained for possessing drugs Rashin Maysigov, reporter for investigative news site Fortanga. According to his lawyer, Maysigov was tortured during interrogation. Russia 14-21 July reportedly blocked access to Fortanga. At Russia’s request, authorities in Sweden 8 July reportedly detained self-exiled Chechen human rights activist but later released him after refusing to extradite him to Russia. Russia 8 July appointed to post of deputy defence minister Ynus-Bek Yevkurov, former leader of Ingushetia who resigned in June amid tension over Sept 2018 border delineation deal between Ingushetia and Chechnya.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

11 Sep 2018
[Russia is] targeting the [African] regimes that do have not have very good relations with the west or who are dissatisfied with west like Sudan, Zimbabwe and CAR. The Guardian

Thierry Vircoulon

Former Senior Consultant, Central Africa
27 Aug 2018
[The rapprochement between Russia and Turkey] demonstrates a striking level of pragmatism in this relationship. Associated Press

Anna Arutunyan

Senior Analyst, Russia
6 Aug 2018
The current situation does not contribute to the post-war reconciliation [between Russia and Georgia] - it only fuels conflict with an increasing feeling of injustice for [people] living near the dividing line. Al Jazeera

Olesya Vartanyan

Analyst, Eastern Neighbourhood
5 Apr 2018
[The] assumption that [President Putin has] a grand evil plan only feeds the domestic myth of a Russia under siege. Newsweek

Anna Arutunyan

Senior Analyst, Russia
16 Mar 2018
Russia needs both the Syrian regime and Turkey. So it has to give a little bit to both and it has to ... make them equally angry, if that's what it wants. Rudaw

Joost Hiltermann

Program Director, Middle East and North Africa
9 Mar 2018
In the end [Moscow] will want a political solution in Syria, and economic reconstruction. For that they will need European input and money and investment. The Christian Science Monitor

Joost Hiltermann

Program Director, Middle East and North Africa

Latest Updates

Is Russia Changing Its Calculus in Eastern Ukraine?

Amid expectations that Russia will test Ukraine’s new president with escalatory actions, it appears that its calculus is to wait for Kyiv’s administration to make the first move – while quietly helping the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics entrench themselves economically.

“Nobody Wants Us”: The Alienated Civilians of Eastern Ukraine

With living conditions worsening, and crossfire still claiming casualties, people residing in eastern Ukraine’s conflict zone feel increasingly abandoned by the central government. Reintegrating the area requires Russian withdrawal, but in the meantime Kyiv can and should better protect civilians and meet humanitarian needs.

Also available in Українська

Prospects for a Deal to Stabilise Syria’s North East

Much of north-eastern Syria has been safe during the civil war. But in the event of U.S. military withdrawal, a mad scramble for control could be unleashed. Washington and Moscow should help their respective allies in Syria reach a decentralisation deal for the area.

Also available in العربية, Türkçe

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Anna Arutunyan

Senior Analyst, Russia