by Emil Souleimanov (the 08/21/13 issue of the CACI Analyst)
In mid-July, the Chechen Republic‘s President Ramzan Kadyrov admitted that Chechens have taken part in the Syria civil war on the side of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), allegations that he categorically denied one year ago. Simultaneously, the formal leader of the Caucasus Emirate Doku Umarov reversed his stance on the participation of Chechens in Syria. Umarov has earlier appealed to Chechen and North Caucasian youth to refrain from joining the Syria jihad and instead fight the “infidels” in their native land, but has now expressed his support for North Caucasian jihadists going to Syria, with the ultimate goal for them to return and join the insurgency upon their return from the Middle East.
by Valeriy Dzutsev (the 08/07/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Terek Cossacks in the North Caucasus have laid out surprisingly bold claims to the authorities in Moscow, attempting to carve out large chunks of property and resources in the region. The Cossacks’ outburst clashes with the interests of North Caucasians and contribute to the rising tensions between ethnic Russians and ethnic North Caucasians. While Moscow and regional authorities in the ethnic Russian-majority provinces have repeatedly played the Cossack card against the North Caucasians, the government also apparently loathes giving the Cossacks excessive prominence, fearing they might eventually grow into an independent force and challenge the central government.
by Emil Souleimanov (06/26/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
On June 1, Makhachkala’s mayor Said Amirov was arrested and transported to Moscow by a military helicopter. The unexpected arrest of the controversial politician, referred to by many as Dagestan’s godfather, has raised questions both inside and outside this North Caucasian republic about the true motive behind a move that was certainly approved by the Kremlin authorities. Does Amirov’s arrest imply a significant change in Moscow’s strategy toward the region’s most volatile republic, or it is rather the outcome of a tactical move without far-reaching consequences for Dagestan’s politics and security?
by Valeriy Dzutsev (06/12/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Hopes for improvement of the security situation in Dagestan gradually dissipate as attacks intensify in the republic. In spite of an anti-corruption campaign introduced by Dagestan’s new acting president, harsher government tactics appear to be matched by more exasperated attacks by the militants, while new anti-insurgency jamaats are formed to avenge the casualties of terrorist attacks. As an impressive administrative reshuffle ensues in the volatile republic, few substantive reforms are promised that could improve the situation in the long run, such as granting the Dagestani public more influence in the republic’s government.
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.