In this Q&A, Crisis Group tapped the views of its Project Director and Analyst in Turkey, Nigar Göksel and Berkay Mandıracı, as well as its Russia and the North Caucasus Project Director, Ekaterina Sokirianskaia.
Originally published in The Guardian
Counter Terrorist Operations (CTOs) conducted in Dagestani villages of Kvanada and Gimerso, Tsumadinsky district 31 Jan-4 Feb, and in Andi village 7-17 Feb; no casualties reported. Chair of National Anti-Terrorism Committee Andrei Przhezdomsky 31 Jan said special forces prevented over 40 planned terrorist attacks in 2016; also said number of Russian recruits to Islamic State (IS) in decline, terrorist activity in N Caucasus decreased. Authorities continue to prevent outflow of fighters from NC to IS; court in Krasnodar in south 14 Feb found three Dagestani men guilty of planning to join IS. Dagestan interior ministry 31 Jan claimed more than 1,200 persons from Dagestan have joined IS. Moscow court 14 Feb sentenced three men from North Caucasus to between three and fourteen years’ jail for having links with IS in Syria and plotting attack in Moscow. Russia continued to increase presence of North Caucasian troops in Syria, sending 300-strong military police battalion from Ingushetia 13 Feb to protect Russian air force military base in Khmeymim and maintain public order in Aleppo.
Russia’s North Caucasus insurgency has gone relatively quiet, as Moscow crushed militants and many left to fight in Syria and Iraq. But longstanding grievances remain and the war may only have widened, as evidenced by the bombing of a Russian airliner in Egypt and the emergence of new groups swearing allegiance to the Islamic State in Russia itself.
For two decades, the North Caucasus conflict has been among Europe’s deadliest. Recently, victims were less, but risks associated with growing Islamic State (IS) influence in the insurgency are growing. To prevent a new rise in violence, Moscow must promote transparent governance as well as social and economic opportunities in its six North Caucasus republics.
A powerful propaganda machine promotes the “success story” of today’s Chechnya. But its peace is fragile; government repression is used to keep the people at bay while economic inequality, poor social infrastructure, lack of genuine reconciliation and almost full impunity for past abuses reflect the republic’s daily reality.
Stronger democratic institutions are crucial to easing violence in Russia’s North Caucasus, where Europe’s worst armed conflict claimed at least 1,225 victims in 2012 and 495 in the first six months of 2013.
Russia’s North Caucasus region is Europe’s deadliest conflict today, with some 574 deaths already this year, and the killing is unlikely to end soon.
[Local barons in Russia's republics often] consolidate their positions in ministries, place their friends and relations in important posts and use various corrupt practices to siphon off resources.
[The Kremlin hopes] to promote Kadyrov as a brand, as someone who turned the war-torn republic into a peaceful and affluent place, who is loyal to the Putin regime and who promotes conservative values.
They have a reputation for being pretty fearless fighters, which is why they move quite quickly up the hierarchy
Women in the Russian republic of Chechnya have never been under such pressure as they are today. Yet not much has been written about their role, their place in society, and their rights in Chechnya and in other North Caucasus conflicts.
Originally published in Новая Газета
Originally published in World Politics Review
Originally published in Novaya Gazeta