Staunton, October 10 – In yet another indication that what some are already calling “a Third Chechen War” is about to begin (www.ng.ru/regions/2012-10-10/3_kartblansh.html), Moscow appears about to complete the expulsion of ethnic Laks from a Daghestani region into which they had moved following deportation of the Chechens who had been living there in 1944.
In a letter to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Accounting Chamber head Sergey Stepashin called for Moscow to allocate an additional 6.6 billion rubles (200 million US dollars) to complete the resettlement of the Laks lest their presence spark new inter-ethnic conflicts in the region, according to an article in today’s “Izvestiya” (izvestia.ru/news/537293
But Sergey Markedonov, a Russian ethnic affairs specialist now at CSIS in Washington, said that even though there are problems in that Daghestani region, no one should rush in to change things. Because there are multiple conflicts: “between Chechens and Laks, Chechens and Avars, and Laks and Kumyks.” Taking any radical step could quickly lead to a loss of control.
As “Ivzestiya” notes, the Novolak district “was formed on the basis of the Aukhov district in 1944 after the deportation of the Chechens and Ingushes to Cenntral Asia.” A decade later, members of these two groups returned but found that Laks had settled in what had been Chechen areas.
“Over the last 20 years,” the paper continues, “the number of Chechens in the Novolak region has constantly increased, but that of the Laks to the contrary has fallen. As a result, a deision was taken to reestablish the Aukhov region and resettle the Laks near Makhachkala.” But obviously, the Laks aren’t eager to go unless they are given housing and jobs in a new place