Staunton, April 8 – Even Moscow experts like Igor Barinov, the head of the Federal Agency for Nationality Affairs, have warned that anti-corruption efforts in Daghestan can lead to an intensification of ethnic conflicts there as those under attack attempt to defend themselves against charges by playing “the ethnic card” (ria.ru/interview/20180404/1517884508.html).
But Moscow’s installation of officials from elsewhere and its moves against key economic elites in that North Caucasus republic are not just triggering ethnic complaints but leading to the appearance and spread of something far more dangerous – “anti-colonial discourse.”
In an article for the Kavkazr portal, Valery Dzutsati points to this development, one that could have the effect of uniting the various nationalities of Daghestan against what they increasingly see as the colonial policies of Moscow and its representative, Vladimir Vasiliyev, in Makachkala (kavkazr.com/a/mestnye-kadry-ne-reshayut-nichego/29148095.html).
The intensification of ethnic tensions in Daghestan has “already begun,” Russian economist Denis Sokolov told Dzutsati. Tensions have always existed because of competition for resources, but now there is a new element: many in Daghestan cast the current fight as being between Daghestanis as a whole and colonial rule by Moscow.
That limits Moscow’s ability to play the divide-and-rule politics it has used in the past to control the situation and could lead to an explosion, Indeed, Ekho Moskvy Eduard Urazayev says that at present as often in the past some “insignificant and accidental” event could trigger a disaster.
He says that he fears that Moscow will focus on the consequences of its cadres policy in that North Caucasus republic only after that happens and not before when the center might have a far easier and cheaper way of keeping order.