By Emil Souleimanov (06/04/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)
News has recently spread of the involvement of Chechens in the Ukraine crisis. According to numerous eyewitnesses, members of Chechen elite units, commonly known as kadyrovtsy, were spotted in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk where they were reportedly deployed in combat against local Ukrainian troops. Soon, sources in Chechnya started informing of dozens of corpses of Chechens being transported from Ukraine back to this North Caucasian republic. The participation of the kadyrovtsy units in military operations outside the North Caucasus indicates a novel trend that could have broad security implications transcending the region’s borders.
By Huseyn Aliyev (the 11/12/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
New legislation adopted by the Russian parliament in November, aimed at punishing families and relatives of terrorist suspects, intends to legalize the “hard” form of counter-insurgency already practiced in several North Caucasus republics. The new law allows authorities to confiscate the assets of suspected terrorists' family members, and obligating them to compensate for damages incurred by those acts. The new legislation entered into force on November 17 and although it has not yet been implemented in practice, the collective punishment practices it permits are already used by authorities across the restive North Caucasus.
By Richard Weitz (the 30/10/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
NATO’s inability to commit to a definite role in Afghanistan beyond 2014, along with perceived strategic setbacks in Central Asia and the South Caucasus, are reinforcing the narrative promoted by the Taliban, al-Qaeda, Iran, and to a lesser extent Russia and China, that a war-weary West is abandoning Eurasia. Urgent measures are needed during the next months to reverse this perception before it gains irreversible momentum. The perception is already leading regional players to hedge against the expected consequences of a diminished NATO role. NATO needs to reaffirm and clarify its commitment to Afghanistan and Eurasia.
By Tomas Šmíd (the 30/10/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Chechnya’s economy has been struggling with long-term problems, which have had a significant and visible impact on standards of living in the republic. Post-war reconstruction of the economy is far from accomplished and development is still hindered by an enormous level of unemployment. This provides a ground for both emigration and open sympathies with the opposition, which is currently represented by the radical Islamist wing alone. The Chechen government itself endeavors to spur some sectors of the economy, e.g. the tourist industry; however any major progress can hardly be expected without the implementation of significant political-economic reforms, and above all, an improvement of civic freedoms.
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.