The activist, who only recently was released from a nearly four-year jail term and who is restricted in his activities as a condition of his parole, says that the Assembly of the Peoples of the Caucasus is directed in the first instance at promoting a rapprochement among the peoples of the Caucasus.
“Russia, tsarist, Soviet and Putinist have constantly sought to divide them,” not just by artificial borders such as exist across the region but also by playing one against the other in some cases and suppressing whole groups in others, the regional activist says. That must and, what is more, can be overcome.
The Assembly includes representatives not only of the North Caucasus nations but also Russians and Cossacks and representatives of Georgia and Azerbaijan. Its members include scholars who work on past problems and future possibilities, possibilities Kutayev suggests Putin by his policies is making ever more immediate.
“I have no doubt,” the regional activist says, “that Putin himself is leading Russia to collapse. He perhaps doesn’t want this but that is the logical outcome of his policies. He and his team are concerned only with stealing as much as possible, and therefore they are undermining ties both with the peoples of Russia and with the entire surrounding world.”
At some point, that world will take steps to remove him in order to prevent him from unleashing a global war; and when that happens, “our task will be the establishment of a new Caucasus Republic” which will include “not only the currently existing republics of the North Caucasus but Rostov Oblast, Krasnodar and Stavropol Krays, Kalmykia and so on.”
“This is a large and interconnected region with a population of about 15 million people,” Kutayev points out, far larger than any of its parts who many assume cannot possibly survive independently because of their small size.
According to the regionalist, “our Assembly has extremely close ties both with local Russian nationalists and with the Cossacks. We all understand that in the case of the disintegration of the empire, all of us will have to organize cooperative and good-neighborly relations.”
“And I do not think,” Kutayev says, “that any particular problems will arise between a future Caucasus Republic and the civilized world.” Moscow is trying to undercut that possibility by suggesting that only it can fight Islamist forces in the region; but in fact, those forces have been introduced there from the outside and not least by Moscow itself.