- Posted May 17, 2012 by
Heavy fighting continues in Russia's North Caucasus
The North Caucasus remains the most problematic and unpredictable region for the Kremlin. All attempts made by Moscow during the last 20 years to curb them ended with no result. The process of alienation between the government and the public continues and what is the most dangerous is that the confrontation is gradually turning into an ethnic and religious one.
In addition to historical experience, the current leaders of Russia were personally connected with all those things that brought the region to a civil war.
A few days ago, Russia celebrated the inauguration of Vladimir Putin, who single-handedly ruled the country for the past 12 years, and now extended this period for another six years. His career is closely linked with the North Caucasus. After the defeat in the first Russian-Chechen war, Russia has revenged under Putin - that, to some extent, satisfied imperial ambitions of nationalist forces and the Russian generals and cost the Chechen people of one million 300,000 lives.
Despite these sacrifices, Putin managed, with the support of father and son Kadyrovs, to establish illusory peace in Chechnya, which is too costly for the federal budget and which in future may bring unity of the state to a disaster. By creating special "greenhouse" conditions for Chechnya the Putin-Kadyrov policy took the republic out of the legal and religious space of the country - which is extremely irritating to Russian opposition-minded politicians and generals. The latters believe that at the appropriate moment Chechnya would immediately disassociate themselves from Moscow. Meanwhile, events that have been developing in the recent period in Dagestan, confirm that it is impossible to use the Chechen model there - model which implies bribery and recruitment of the ruling elite and the armed underground.
The return of Putin to the Kremlin was met by Russian society with a pronounced protest. Mass demonstrations in Moscow and other Russian cities are continuously held. A terrorist attack held in Makhachkala three days before the inauguration of Putin claimed lives of two dozen soldiers and more than a hundred people were seriously injured. Despite the fact that the pro-government media linked this fact with the Day of Victory over fascism - May 9, it was clear that with this act the Dagestan underground protested against another "reign" of Putin.
Will Putin and his team change failed politics of use of force in the Caucasus or not? Will he take into account recommendations of intellectuals of both Russian and international community or not?
Forecasts of analysts and policy makers on this issue are unambiguously negative, as statement recently made by the Russian authorities and steps taken by them clearly indicate that they uncompromisingly and with extreme cruelty will continue the path tried and tested on the course of many decades.
The logic of the facts is as follows:
In recent months tens of thousands of special force personnel trained in central regions of Russia and Siberia were additionally introduced into the North Caucasus. They will replace local security forces that have lost trust of the federal authorities.
Implementation of a program of annual resettlement of 50,000 Russian-speaking families to the North Caucasus was started. And this is happening against the backdrop that under the pretext of shortage of land local able-bodied population are resettled in regions of central Russia and abroad.
The top officials of the North Caucasus Federal District that had been transferred into the region from Siberia in early 2010, and who were charged with the task of fighting the criminal by economic methods, could not cope with the task. Therefore military officials will replace them.
A few days before the inauguration of the President the Kremlin gratefully received the report of law enforcement agencies of the North Caucasus on 546 large-scale "effective" punitive military operations held in the last three months that claimed hundreds of lives on both sides.
The 2014 Olympics in Sochi is approaching. In a situation that prevails today in adjacent to Sochi Abkhazia and the North Caucasus holding of the Olympic Games would be impossible. Therefore, the authorities are prepared to resort to cardinal measures to establish order in the region. This includes total clean-up and control over every square meter of the territory by military and police forces.
Four days after the inauguration Putin went to Sochi, where he separately met with regional leaders and "presidents" of the occupied regions of Georgia - Abkhazia and the so-called South Ossetia. He encouraged them and promised military and financial aid together with moral support.
Among the participants of the meeting the media especially focussed on the head of North Ossetia Taimuraz Mamsurov - or rather his "historical" appeal, according to which "anyone who considers himself a patriot, should be in the South, where a new history of Ossetia is being written."
What else could have Mr. Mamsurov said? Because without such fraud and hypocrisy, no one will leave him as head of the republic.
Russian imperial forces and generals have great hopes for a future defence minister - in the near future Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin is predicted to take this post. He was born and raised in a family of well known in military circles General Oleg Rogozin. His maternal grandfather too was a police general. Dmitry Rogozin himself is a well educated and experienced diplomat. Both in his circle, and on the international arena, he has a reputation of a hard and uncompromising politician. His harsh statements regarding Georgia and settlement of the Georgian-Abkhazian relations as well as the situation in the North Caucasus region are well known.
Assessments with regard to Georgia made by Putin and Medvedev voiced on the day of the inauguration of the President of Russia were also directed at instigation of the policy of use of force.
Heads of security services, inspired by the speeches of the President and the Prime Minister, gave full freedom to their absurd imagination. According to them, participants of the attempt on Abkhazian "president" Alexander Ankvab’s life (two of whom committed suicide under suspicious circumstances) were associated with the leader of "the Abkhazian Jamaat" Rustan Gitsba, who, in turn, is subordinated to "international terrorist organization" –the Caucasus Emirate. And the latter, in turn, is allegedly linked to security services of Georgia and Turkey. It should be noted that Rustan Gitsba is the brother of the former leader of the Muslim community of Abkhazia Khamzat (Roki) Gitsba – who was killed along with his guest Ruslam Asadulin, in broad daylight, in the centre of Gudauta in front of dozens of witnesses in August 2007.
Khamzat Gitsba was a brother-in-law (wife’s brother) of Shamil Basayev. They, on orders of the intelligence services of Russia, fought against Georgians in Abkhazia in the nineties. And they were both eliminated by the same intelligence agencies after they were no longer useful.
The killing of Khamzat Gitsba was aimed at intimidation of Abkhazian Muslims and instigation of anti-Islamic and anti-Turkish hysteria.
A similar situation is emerging today. It will be used to increase intelligence forces in Abkhazia and establishment of military-police regime similar to one that is in the North Caucasian republics.
Further intensification of provocative plans of forces gripped with imperial ambitions, could put not only the Caucasus but Russia itself too before a catastrophe. It can be stopped and curbed only by joint efforts of democratic forces in Russia and international community.