Staunton, March 9 – Stanislav Belkovsky, a political analyst who serves as an advisor to Russian presidential candidate Kseniya Sobchak, says that “at present, the Islamic regions of the North Caucasus are de facto beyond the borders of the political and legal space of the Russian Federation, which are themselves far from perfect but nonetheless exist.”
“The Kremlin is trying to do something in this regard,” he continues, giving as an example the imposition of a Russian police general on Daghestan. But Belkovsky says that will not solve the problem (youtube.com/watch?v=L9B2noP3Jc8&feature=youtu.be&t=25m25s; summarized at kavkazr.com/a/29088660.html).
According to Belkovsky, “given the existing level of corruption, of the psychological dependence of Vladimir Putin on the authorities of Chechnya and Ramzan Akhmatovich Kadyrov personally, there can’t be any radical changes” in where these Islamic republics are or are heading.
Consequently, “a decision needs to be made about whether these republics will return and whether they want to return (on the level of a certain intra-elite consensus) into the political-legal space of our united country. If they don’t, then perhaps they should be offered the choice up to complete state independence.”
Belkovsky acknowledges that sometimes his views are different than those of the candidate he supports, but many in the North Caucasus and perhaps many more elsewhere in Russia will see his remarks on this point as indicative of her views, gaining her support in some quarters, Russian and non-Russian alike, and costing her backing in others.