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Thursday, February 22, 2018

“The Kremlin in the Caucasus, tries two political models”

The North Caucasus for most Russians, with all the abundance of news from there remains a mystery: the memories of the war, a sharp Kadyrov’s statement, the ongoing terrorist attacks, timidly developing tourism. We talked with the journalist and expert on the North Caucasus by Yulia Yuzik, who told us what happens in the two key republics, Dagestan and Chechnya, as in a geographical location different may develop two, on the external view, similar companies.

photo: Alexey Obuhov

The road to the beach in Derbent.

– The first issue of Dagestan, of course, is associated with the situation in the country: we have all heard about the recent bombings and attacks. What is the problem? Fighting clans, the influence of the banned in Russia “Islamic state”, Jamaat?

– Jamaat, of course. I even think that in Dagestan encourage their development, but, rather, in order to then recruiting offices, which operate in the Republic in the North Caucasus and throughout Russia, revealed their members and sent straight to Turkey and from there they will go to Syria. Thus, without the attention of human rights activists, no tanks, no purging of air strikes jamaats of the North Caucasus.

– I think it’s in the hands of the authorities?

– I think it’s cynical, coolly, but from the point of view of the authorities this is common sense. Because when all these passionaries was in the North Caucasus, it caused the reaction of the defenders of the West, the situation was like a rotting wound. And now they’re leaving, and then in Dagestan gets really quieter over the last two years of terrorist activity even statistically decreased more than twice.

When people leave, I don’t know what the name of the army unit, to whom they obey. That being said, don’t mind their business. One of the people with whom I spoke, “just wanted to help fellow Muslims who are oppressed”. He did not know where he was going. He said: you come to Istanbul, here’s your number, brother, Abdullah will meet you will put put you on the bus, all show, don’t you worry, brother. It trafficked across the border, there still will fire, and which side he lands on depends on who the messenger it will be transferred.

– Have a coherent goal is simply to get rid of the client?

– Yes, of course, he gets money for it, roughly speaking, as for a slave. And a slave only knows its “parent Manager” who is responsible for 10-15 people. However, until someone eventually comes.

While in Dagestan, as I said, thanks to such tactics became much calmer, although two years ago in Untsukul district, WHO counter-terrorist operation – ed.) was in the course of the year. Just imagine: WHO’s length in the year. But the situation is radically different from the familiar Chechnya.

A key strength of the Federal center in Dagestan was the internal troops, which was headed by General Zolotov. Everywhere, at every checkpoint, were the cameras. As the soldiers say Hello, how you react – all recorded by cameras. When there are cameras everywhere, as in any European country, it is a psychological deterrent: all polite, well-mannered. This was not in Chechnya, and in Dagestan was.

Everything was, or rather is quiet, smooth and tough.

– Nevertheless, the situation in Dagestan remains tense: before the New year was shooting in the main tourist attractions of Derbent fortress Naryn-Kala, permanently identified supporters of the banned in Russia, same IG…

– I would not tie it to ISIS. Since then, Dagestan has removed one of the most respected people there, the former mayor of Makhachkala said Amirov (he is now under arrest in Moscow – ed.), there are still a few key players with a criminal past and present, a great reputation, capital and influence on the situation. In Derbent, for example, it was his ex-mayor Imam yaraliyev. The situation in Derbent, in my opinion, has more to do with Alievym and that trying to reduce its impact.

There is a man, the mayor of the city, there are areas that it controls. Of course, that he has ties to completely different structures. And when a person is trying to take control, to start checking, it demonstrates its ability to destabilize the situation. Therefore, all high-profile crimes – the Naryn-Kala attacks occur in the area. It just shows that if you start to touch me, you will have problems”. But the state still stronger.

photo: Alexey Obuhov
Square on the waterfront of Makhachkala.

The current mayor of Makhachkala, Musa Musayev – he of the same old clans. Over it now, too, the clouds are gathering.

– And the current President of Dagestan, Ramazan Abdulatipov, how well he controls the Republic in comparison with its neighbour Ramzan Kadyrov in Chechnya?

– Abdulatipov with Kadyrov there are similarities and differences. Abdulatipov is not a cruel dictator, who at any moment ready to bleed. This Soviet-type cultured and educated man, he loves art, writes poetry, and plays. But they have in common is that they both are very loyal to Putin. Putin and the security Council have their own vision of how to develop the situation in Dagestan. Moscow wants to split the clan mini-army (let’s call a spade a spade) who fight among themselves, organize Jamaat, trying to pry money or power.

Abdulatipov have their own tactics: he behaves intelligently, even modestly, does not appear in the Gucci suits, black mirrored sunglasses and blue loafers, not driving around in their Mercedes latest series: he behaves like a Soviet party official who has survived all these years and now, finally, controls the region. And it is very difficult.

– But why then the Federal centre gives such power to Kadyrov, if delivered to Moscow goals as effectively and achieves much more accurate speakers?

– I think the Kremlin is now in the Caucasus, tries two political models. The first is a rigid dictatorial option Kadyrov: he even predicted in Federal policy. He’s very charismatic and embodies the dream of “a strong hand”. Abdulatipov is the opposite model is much more democratic. In Dagestan actually seething political life, there are many parties, they have real competition.

Chechnya from the point of view of policy is a scorched field. Any germ, which it broke through the asphalt to be trampled. In Dagestan there is a sense of political struggle – be that is not in General in Russia. I recently spoke with a colleague of Moscow Bureau “Spiegel”, which will write about the upcoming elections to the Duma, he will go for that in Dagestan, where he will meet a variety of candidates. Maybe that Dagestan can become in this respect, the exemplary Republic to the North Caucasus.

What about pre-election party alignment?

Of course, at the forefront in Dagestan – “United Russia”, but in the last election in some areas, for example, in Buynaksk, it was defeated. In the Republic the very strong protests, not against the head of state, and against local officials who successfully master budgets. The money just disappear, but nothing happens – for example, water Buynaksk allocated billions, but people still use imported water of unknown origin, which to them deliver tanks.

Except the “United Russia” in Dagestan there was suddenly a very active party “Rodina”. Her office is headed by the former head of the local Agency Magomedrasul Omarov, very successfully reclaimed the budgets for the construction of roads: so that was a long time in search and hiding in Dubai, not yet settled the financial issues. Now he is vital to get into the Duma to five years to live in peace.

In addition, in Dagestan very actively addressed the local branch of the party “People against corruption”, it is here represented by the official clergy headed by Magomedrasul Saaduev, first Deputy mufti of Dagestan. He has a very high authority, he leads a Friday sermon in the Juma mosque. Federal center frankly scared, and the speakers nervous.

– Scared of clericalism?

– Yes, everyone saw the Iranian version of events and are afraid to put the clergy in power.

Finally, there are the representatives of the oligarchs of the Dagestani origin. Of course, a man coming from Suleiman Kerimov, Magomedov brothers group. There is, for example, and the owner of the Timiryazevsky market in Moscow: he lives in the capital, but is originally from Dagestan. In General, it turns out this is very hard for men…

Republic in terms of social life is developing very strongly. We recently arrived in Dagestan with my Moscow colleague and he was very surprised: it was sure that it was some kind of wild place where the shotgun sticking out from the Windows of Russian cars. Yes, such machines there still are numerous, but the Dagestanis are very eager to be like the Muscovites and all the modern trends try to bring into the Republic, until the anticafe. There are even social media projects: for example, on the protection of women.

There are ostropoliticheskie Newspapers. They are very biased, but in a sense this is good because it means that people want to participate in politics.

– But at the same time, Dagestan is a Muslim Republic? Of course, not Chechnya, but…

– The importance of religion in the life of Chechnya I would not be exaggerating. Kadyrov during his flurry of activity several times changed the roll of the religious policy. Then he went into Sufism, then began to promote fully enclosed apparel. Received from the office of the President – what are you doing, dressing like a Wahhabi. All immediately began to change. I think it is enough no matter what form of Islam to promote. But what about religion now – we don’t know. Chechnya is a house with closed gates. If there is a Wahhabi if there are Sufis who will check them?

photo: Alexander Astafyev

But the Dagestanis it always seemed to me much more religious. Despite the fact that Grozny is a luxurious gleaming mosque “Heart of Chechnya, Dagestan and especially the Avars have always been great desire for spiritual search.

– It turns out that the Islamization of society, which imposes Kadyrov, superficial?

– I believe, Yes. As soon as Putin leaves office, it will take, and men will remove the outfits sew female part of the family Kadyrov for the whole country.

Oh, and that’s about it, if possible, in detail.

All Chechen officials wear a uniform. Plain cotton trousers, jackets with pockets and an open collar in the style of Peter pan, all of which are different colors, quite optimistic.

photo: instagram.com
Photo: kadyrov_95

I was in Republic when Ramzan Kadyrov came up with the bright idea that all men need to wear: sewing all this magnificence took his sister, who hired a bunch of other relatives. In the center of Grozny is the salon with unrealistic prices like this outfits from Versace. And I remember how I sat next to the person who just called and said that tomorrow he should come to the press conference in the new clothes. He with all the richness of the Russian language, commented on the decision of Kadyrov, but I said, “If you need, I’m in a wedding dress comes.” Because that’s how you show your loyalty.

But as soon as the head of the Republic will not be Ramzan Akhmatovich, it all ends.

– What do you think, when there may come the day, the end of the reign of Kadyrov?

– Honestly, I don’t see him as an old man sitting with a dog by the fireside counting his countless grandchildren. However, at all, as he says, the will of Allah.

While the tasks set before him in “the era of cleaning” they performed. And all of the current scandals such as the bridge Kadyrov create unpleasant associations with his name. A few years ago, it was quoted as a politician at the Federal level, after the murder, and went a very different trend: it creates a negative information field, which should cool his ardor.

But maybe Chechnya for all that is developing economically? There is, for example, a common ski resort “Veduchi”?

– Always there is a wish to go on holiday to North Korea. There are people who catch the buzz from seeing machines at the airport and hotels, where the ear is sticking out even from the toilet. Stay in modern Chechnya – from the same series. For example, any employee of power structures is assigned to travel to Chechnya puts pictures of “Veduchikh” where smiles and shows how happy he is.

Another story in Dagestan. I myself went to rest with children on the Caspian sea, however, we are very much looking for a clean stretch of coast, because in the season there resting almost the whole of Chechnya. If there was seriously engaged in the infrastructure, put things in order, would improve the ratio of price and quality, this direction is the future. No offense to Iran to be said, but the Dagestan coast of the Caspian sea is in much better condition.

Plus in Dagestan, in fact, very friendly attitude to the guests, these traditions are not broken. But in Chechnya they were destroyed in the two thousandth years. You know, when I came to Chechnya in the early noughties, I was shocked to discover that after you the guests were fed dinner, you go out and understand that your shoes are washed. I told you not to do it, I was embarrassed, but heard in response: “It is the law that a guest walked away with clean shoes.” So show respect.

Now, I think, no Chechen would not you wash the shoes, and the young man with a gun does not give way to the old man raises his voice at the old man. And in Dagestan all that remained.

And everything will change in Chechnya in the upcoming elections, while there Kadyrov.

– But Dagestan?

– While this is the only region in the Caucasus that has a chance to show off not only Russia but also the world outdoor politically advanced.

Dagestan does not use its geopolitical opportunities: it is the southern border of Russia, it connects Europe and Asia. This is the Caspian sea, it is air routes, oil and gas. In Dagestan it is possible to make a key interchange on the South. There you can create a powerful logistics center. We need investment in the port of Makhachkala, the only ice-free Russian port on the Caspian sea, which is idle for decades.

The development of Dagestan is the construction of the Avar – Kakhetian road. It was strategically important during the conquest of the Caucasus. The Western border of Dagestan was connected Dagestan with Georgia across the Great Caucasus range, that is, the South Caucasus and the North Caucasus. Even with the king as soon as it began to build, assailed by robbers with daggers, as modern terrorists, and the project stopped. Geopolitical rivals Russia all the time striving to prevent such a development. If built this way, it connects Dagestan with Georgia, then Armenia, and then Iran. And South Dagestan, Azerbaijan, Iran, India, the whole region, for which the British Empire always fought with Russia, the key to the world.

That is the task of development, so that in five years he stopped to milk the Federal budget and began to develop myself to make a profit.

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