Staunton, February 2 – The Kremlin claims and all too many in Russia and the West accept that the central government has won in the North Caucasus, but a new report, which finds that the number of victims of the conflict there rose by 11 percent last year over the year before, makes it clear that such claims and their acceptance are not justified.
The Kavkaz-Uzel portal which tracks developments in that region publishes today a summary of the information it has gathered on combat losses and violence there over the last year compared to the year before, acknowledging that its numbers likely understate the level of violence because they are almost certainly incomplete (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/297004/).
According to the portal, the number of killed and wounded in the armed conflict in the North Caucasus rose from 258 in 2015 to 287 in 2016. The number of explosions rose significantly as well from 11 to 26, but the number of “armed incidents” the authorities reported remained unchanged at 86.
The number of those who died in these clashes fell slightly from 209 to 185, while the number of wounded increased from 49 to 62. The civilian population suffered somewhat less in 2016 than in 2015: the number of killed and wounded among it across the region fell by 31 percent, from 35 to 24.
But combat losses among the Russian force structures “almost doubled,” Kavkaz-Uzel reports. In 2015, these structures suffered 18 killed and 31 wounded; in 2016, those numbers rose to 32 and 65 respectively. And the number of killed and wounded among the militants also rose from 147 to 166, with 162 of those killed rather than wounded.
The portal notes that there are important variations within the region as a whole. Daghestan, Chechnya, and Kabardino-Balkaria all saw the number of killed and wounded go up; Ingushetia and Stavropol saw declines; and Karachayevo-Cherkessia and North Ossetia, this past year as in 2015, had no clashes and no losses.