Staunton, June 9 – Given media attention to Vladimir Putin’s other military actions, many have forgotten that the war in the North Caucasus goes on, and they have failed to see that the methods the Kremlin leader has employed there are spreading to ever more parts of Russian life far from that region, according to the Memorial human rights organization.
The number of killed and wounded in the conflicts in the North Caucasus have declined over the last several years, but primarily because of the Russian authorities have helped jihadists there to go to fight in Syria and Iraq, Memorial says. And at the same time, the Russian side has suspended its use of “soft power” and instead is employing “state terror” there and elsewhere.
That does not presage anything good for the North Caucasus, the authors of the Memorial report say; indeed, an upsurge in violence appears likely. But even more disturbing, this trend casts a larger shadow because Moscow is increasingly inclined to use the same methods it is now employing in that region across the entire country.
The Memorial report is available at memohrc.org/reports/kontrterror-na-severnom-kavkaze-vzglyad-pravozashchitnikov-2014-g-pervaya-polovina-2016-g. It is reviewed and discussed at kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5757CEB914BF4, kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/283821/, and sobkorr.ru/infopovod/5757CEB914BF4.html.
One of the authors of the report, Svetlana Gannushkina, said that as a result of Kremlin policies, Chechnya has become “a state within a state.” There, “the Constitution of the Russian Federation doesn’t operate nor do Russian laws. The only thing that matters are the orders of Ramzan Kadyrov.”
Chechens “already long ago became accustomed to this and consider it the norm,” she says. But the form of “’stability’” Kadyrov has established there is now reflected in Moscow with such things as the murder of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. The existence of this “enclave with a totalitarian regime,” she adds, “is a serious danger for the future of Russia.”
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