Dagestan between war and peace
25/12/2009 09:53
Gocha Guniava
"The Club of exsperts", exspert

At a republican meeting dedicated to a day of security service worker President of Dagestan Mukhu Aliyev personally congratulated workers on their professional holiday that is traditionally marked on December 20th. Aliyev said that law enforcement agencies of the republic had not spared an effort to establish order and peaceful atmosphere. He recounted concrete figures to support his opinion that later were confirmed by Vyacheslav Shanin, the head of FSB of the republic (whom M. Aliyev awarded an order for "services before the Republic of Dagestan") and acting Minister of Internal Affairs of Dagestan Alexander Trofimov. "Results of the work done" are indeed "impressive" and at the same time thought provoking.

Figures of operational activities in Dagestan starting from the beginning of 2009 and up till today are the following: 18 counter-terrorist and more than 100 reconnaissance operations as a result of which 41 terrorist and 9 subversive acts were prevented. 150 militants were killed, among them 5 foreign nationals. 108 illegally armed persons and their accomplices have been detained. Large quantities of arms and ammunition have been seized. 37 field caches were destroyed. Turkish citizen Zia Peche who was an Al-Qaeda representative in the north Caucasus, a main financial supporter and co-coordinator of insurgents and emissary of the organization "Doctor Mohamed" in one person was killed. Other persons who were killed are the head of so-called Sharia Court of Dagestan Abdula Saadulaev and commander of formation "Sharia" Omar Shaikhulaev. Number of attacks on workers of law enforcement agencies has doubled. In 2008 it was 100 when in 2009 this number has increased to 193. In 2009 76 workers have died and 155 have been wounded (Interior Minister of the Republic A. Mamedtagirov has also fallen victim of a sniper bullet). 15 civilians were killed and 30 were wounded during operations. 135 members of terrorist and subversive groups were killed (77 in 2008) and 108 were arrested (97 in 2008) during armed resistance.

6 subversive and terrorist groups are operating today in Dagestan and they consist of more than 150 militants.

Society of Dagestan is also concerned with attacks on religious leaders that are becoming ordinary events. At various times both ordinary and republican religious leaders have become victims of terrorists. 10 such attacks happened in Dagestan only in 2009 and three of them ended tragically. In most cases assassins and their motives remain unidentified. But there is a view that Dagestanis do not forgive ordinary citizens and especially representatives of religious authorities' unofficial relationship with security services.

According to Mukhu Aliyev a reason for all the above is unemployment, Bureaucratic injustice, and abuse of power, corruption, clan system and violence as a result of which young generation cannot realize their capabilities and are easily drawn under influence of extremists. After such assessment of the situation the President of Dagestan sees a way-out in even more strengthening of administrative and repressive measures.

Mukhu Aliyev is very concerned with corruption among workers of the law enforcement bodies, with their connections with armed underground, with complete distrust of population towards them.

Probably that was a reason for despair of republican authorities that was manifested into an initiative that was approved by the president and voiced by his representative Haji Makhachev: to form special armed groups from angry relatives of those killed by militants who will fight more fiercely and will be more loyal in fight against insurgent forces. A basis for this so-called initiative has partly become an assassination of Interior Minister of Dagestan General Mamedtagirov that still remains unsolved and that was named as a reason for a start of a struggle for a presidential post.

This is a political, social and criminal background against which in 2010 a procedure of election-appointment of the president of Dagestan will take place and that is becoming more and more tense and full of incidents as each day passes.

According to the current election law political parties submit their candidates to the president of Russia. One will be selected and his name will be sent for approval to the People's Assembly of the republic. The party "Edynaya Rosia" sent names of five candidates to the President of Russia. These are: current President Mukhu Aliyev, Deputy Head of the government of the republic Magomed Abdulaev, member of the People's Assembly of Dagestan Magomed Magomedov and head of Treasury of Dagestan Saidhusein Magomedov. This is an official way. Although entire Dagestan and not only it knows that there are other requirements to meet in order to be able to become a president of Dagestan. Namely:

A candidate should be supported by one of the leaders of clans of Dagestan and member of the State Duma Magomed Gajiev who is personally in charge of finances that are especially allotted for these events by Moscow and also in charge of these sums that are put by lobbyists of certain candidates.

A phrase said by Yeltsin during his meeting with Caucasian elders: "no national policy will have a result without money" is still an urgent issue. As a follower of this theory M. Gajiev knows well that each vote costed 10 000 Rubles in cash in the recent Mayoral elections in Derbent. And for a candidate introduced by the Russian president to win at the People's Assembly the majority of 72 MPs should approve him. Everybody knows that one vote there costs one million. A principle "more money – more loyalty" is still in place and so Moscow is forced not to be stingy with money.

A presidential candidate should work for getting support of Dagestani businessman Suleiman Kerimov who has 17 billion dollars. He not only represents interests of certain Russian political leaders and business circles but also has a certain influence over them.

Political elite of Dagestan also takes into account a position of the Mayor of Makhachkala Said Amirov who is bound to a wheelchair after a terrorist attack and who is called a Dagestani Roosevelt and was considered as one of the presidential candidates. Coming from the existing situation he obediently announced that he and his people would support whoever was approved by President Medvedev.

By announcing that Said Amirov reaffirmed that power is paramount. He also knows that economy of Dagestan that is close to disappearing is subsidized by 80% and only 30% of it reaches population and that confrontation with Moscow will not bring any good to either him or his people.

A presidential candidate should also be able to secure a favour of President of Chechnya Ramzan Kadirov who has special claims in the North-East Caucasus. One reason for this also is 100 000 Akin Chechens living in Dagestan and it is difficult to maintain a post of the president without them.

Ahead of the 2006 presidential elections Mukhu Aliyev promised population that he would raise their welfare, uproot corruption, clan system and unemployment, improve criminogenic situation and so on.

All the above indicators have doubled and tripled in this period in negative direction. Living conditions in the republic have become unbearable.

Who will be Moscow's choice out of the candidates in this situation? Who will those in power support?

It cannot be rule out that Moscow might support an "old and accustomed evil". M. Aliyev that is close to seventy has always been serving loyally with the central government.

They believe that former Komsomol worker who was party raikom secretary, later became first secretary of party obkom, chairman of supreme council of Dagestan, chairman of People's Assembly of Dagestan and later President of Dagestan will not betray its chosen path in the future as well.

Now there are battles for presidential post on top of those military operations that have been going on in Dagestan for years. Battles and confrontations for Dagestan became even fiercer. A phrase of old strategists comes to mind: "who owns Dagestan owns the Caucasus".

Neighbouring nations are following with great attention not so simple events that are taking place near them and they wish their Dagestani brothers to celebrate a victory of peace and justice in the entire Caucasus together with them.

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