Saturday, August 10, 2019

‘Daghestan is Losing Russia Not the Other Way Around,’ Makhachkala Roundtable Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 8 – Vladimir Putin named Vladimir Vasiliyev to be the head of Daghestan in order to overcome corruption and to return Daghestan to the Russian legal field,” participants at a Makhachkala roundtable say. But they add that he has not had much success and is unlikely to any time soon.

            Indeed, the recent round of arrests in the republic show, Magomed Shamilov, who heads an independent union of law enforcement personnel, says that nothing much has changed, that the law enforcement organs are to blame and that “Daghestan is losing Russia not the other way around” (

            Many of those taking part argued that the problems in Daghestan were the result of Daghestani actions and said they supported Putin’s efforts to change the situation, but one speaker, Khanzhan Kurbanov, a journalist and political analyst, said that Daghestan’s problems were the product of Russian realities, not Daghestani ones.

            “I don’t want this Russia to return to Daghestan,” he said. “As the Chinese say, a fish rots from the head but is cleaned from the tail. We see that Daghestan represents a fortress of corruption in Russia and here many problems are especially sharp, but isn’t that the case elsewhere?” And if it is, Daghestanis are far from being solely responsible.

            But there is one big difference and it is why Moscow is focusing on Daghestan, Kurbanov says. When a Russian villager encounters problems with the authorities, he gets drunk; but in Daghestan, such people “take up arms.  The mountaineers are people with a heightened sense of justice. We want to feel this justice here and now and not 20 years from now.”

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