In EDM, Valery Dzutsev has commentary on Kavkazskii Uzel’s interview with Emil Pain:
As instability in the North Caucasus persists, experts are increasingly coming to the realization that Moscow’s present policies in the region can hardly address the pressing issues of the area. Even though Russian authorities appeared to be satisfied with a containment strategy in the North Caucasus for limiting violence to the region, this approach does not seem to work. A territorial dispute between Chechnya and Ingushetia, a revolt by ethnic Russians in Stavropol region, and the expanding conflict in Dagestan and elsewhere in the region indicate that instability is not simply simmering at a certain level, but is proliferating and emerging in unexpected forms and in new territories. Given the current dynamics of the security situation unfolding in the North Caucasus, chances are slim that the Olympics in Sochi in 2014 will not be affected in some adverse way by regional developments and blowback from the ongoing insurgencies in the North Caucasus.
RFE/RL reports that most of the 200 asylum seekers from Chechnya, Georgia and Ingushetia who attempted to travel to Strasbourg by train but were detained at the Polish-German border yesterday are now returning to Poland, where they are being temporarily held at a refugee centre in Warsaw:
The protesters — who boarded the train without tickets — told RFE/RL they wanted to go to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg to highlight their poor living conditions in Polish refugee centers and police abuse they said they have experienced.
The refugees have reportedly been refused political asylum in Poland.
Meanwhile, the pro-Moscow Chechen President Ramazan Kadyrov told journalists in Grozny today that the refugee protest in Poland is an “act of desperation.”
He said, “If these people return home, their rights will be protected better.”
Polish journalist Krystyna Kurczab-Redlich, who writes about human rights in Chechnya, told RFE/RL that it is hard to obtain political asylum in Poland in general but the European Union law known as the Dublin Regulation does not allow refugees to leave Poland for another EU country if an asylum request is refused in Poland. She said that creates difficulties for Polish officials, who do not know what to do with the refugees, and leaves the asylum-seekers with few options.
At Prague Watchdog, Andrei Babitsky and German Sadulayev comment on President Medvedev’s new North Caucasus policy, announced in his recent address to the Federal Assembly, and his appointment of an “overseer” for the region, which is now for the first time being perceived by the Kremlin as a political entity. Also, a new Reuters report quotes ChRI leader Akhmed Zakayev as saying that Russia intends to significantly increase the numbers of its troops in the North Caucasus, as part of a planned surge.
“The strategy of the new president [Yevkurov] was extremely tough: to pardon all those who could be pardoned, and kill all those who needed to be killed. And no corruption.
“That strategy split the opposition, the insurgents and the security forces. Ironically, the two latter groups of irreconcilable opponents had one common interest: they were both for the continuation of uncontrolled violence. The insurgents – because it creates a base for the Islamic Revolution, and the law enforcement agencies – because it is easier to get stars on one’s uniform that way. Both needed the butcher’s axe, and not the surgeon’s knife, to operate in the republic. Force of the targeted kind that was necessary was not in the interests of either group.”
Although Islamist preacher and ideologist Said Buryatsky (aka Abu Saad al-Buryati aka Aleksandr Tikhomirov) was thought by some observers (especially in the light of an earlier video) to have died in a suicide bombing attack on the police department in Nazran, Ingushetia, on August 17, which killed and maimed many civilians, he is apparently alive and well.
An interview with Ingushetia’s Moscow-backed president, Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, is being broadcast by Russkaya sluzhba novostei on the day that a suicide bomb attack has killed at least 19 people in the republic’s capital, Nazran.
In the interview Yevkurov, who recently left hospital after an an attempt on his life, says among other things:
“I am far from believing that the Arabs are behind all this. There are other forces at work, more serious ones. I have emphasized this in the past, and I say now that the West will do everything it can to prevent Russia reviving as the former Soviet Great Power… We understand whose interests are involved …those of the United States and Great Britain. Also Israel. This is entirely real.”
As of today, Russia’s police, FSB and six other law enforcement agencies will be permitted to open letters and packages and obtain personal data from the postal service. The change in the law will also allow the opening and reading of email correspondence, which is already closely monitored by the authorities.
It is important for policymakers and experts to understand that even though the situation in the North Caucasus depends very much on what is going on in Moscow, the region de facto is already a different territory, with rules of behavior distinctly different from the rest of Russia. The North Caucasus is a no man’s land for journalists and rights activists in which the Kremlin’s cliques exercise overwhelming control over the flow of information. This means that the North Caucasus in practice should be treated as a territory under totalitarian state control. Even though Russia as a whole still cannot be referred to as a totalitarian state, the North Caucasus is already there – a relatively new development in the territory’s recent past.
Her corpse, which showed signs of a violent death, was found at 5.20pm (1320 GMT) near Ingushetia’s main city Nazran, ITAR-TASS news agency said, citing the regional interior ministry.
“The body had two wounds to the head, it was clear she had been murdered in the morning,” Madina Khadziyeva, a spokeswoman at the ministry, told Reuters. She did not specify the nature of the injuries.
Again at WoE, Paul Goble has a review of Russian press articles about the recent attempted assassination of Ingushetia’s President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, and notes with reference to a piece by a North Caucasus specialist that
If the Russian powers that be could understand the nature of their opponents, they might be able to counter them. But the evidence at present is that Moscow and its local backers do not and are thus likely to continue to pursue policies that will fulfill Sukhov’s prediction that the war there “will not end.”
At Prague Watchdog, Andrei Babitsky also presents some reflections on this “comprehension” issue.