North Caucasus violence continues; authorities to redraw borders?

One civilian was killed and several injured (both police and civilians) in a clash that erupted when police opened fire on protesters blocking a road in Dagestan’s Dokuzpari district April 25. The protesters, who were demanding the dismisal of a local prosecutor accused of corruption, responded by hurling stones. (ITAR-TASS, April 26)

Meanwhile, the speaker of the Russian-backed parliament in neighboring Chechnya joined a chorus of officials suggesting the merger of the two republics, as well as the reunification of Chechnya and Ingushetia, separated after the collapse of the USSR. The abolition of the Chechen-Ingush Republic in the 1990s was a historical mistake, said Dukvakha Abdurakhmanov.

Stalin had first joined Ingushetia and Chechnya into one, and local representatives rejected Abdurakhmanov’s call. Russian State Duma deputy from Dagestan, Gadzhimet Safaraliyev, said: “Dagestan has never been with Ingushetia or Chechnya — Dagestan has been separate. This is because the territory and population of Dagestan are as large as those of the other five republics of the North Caucasus put together. So if anyone wants to join us, let them ask us — and we will think about it… There is geography, there is history, there is geopolitics and there is the mentality of the people… I think they should be left to live happily in their republic…” (MosNews, April 25)

See our last post on the North Caucasus.