Staunton, August 10 – Even people who accept that the north Caucasus is a Russian colony often argue that the republics of that region would be incapable of living on their own. But Avraam Shmulyevich says that history shows they could and that both they and Russia itself would be better off if they were to become independent.
The Israeli political analyst points out that “the Caucasus is one of the most ancient hearths of civilization on the planet, and the North Caucasus people, the majority of whom have lived on this territory for thousands of years, have cities like Derbent, the history of which is counted in millenia” (afterempire.info/2017/08/08/sevkavkaz/).
Over this period, they have often created stable societies and states, and even during the last 200 years when there has been “an uninterrupted” Russian colonial advance, one “accompanied by genocide” and “scorched earth” policies, the peoples of this region have been able to organize and resist.
In the course of centuries, Shmulyevich says, “the Caucasus peoples have suffered many catastrophes, invasions and conquests. Russia’s colonial rule is only one of them.” It has been a “disintegrating” factor, and it will take time to overcome the consequences of its rule. But the Caucasus has existed as a distinct civilization for more than 2000 years.
Moscow, in contrast, “occupied all of its territory only 153 years ago.”
In resisting Russian expansionism, the North Caucasus peoples “have demonstrated remarkable even unprecedented vitality and an ability to establish vital social structures in very different foreign political and economic conditions,” the Israeli analyst says. There is no reason to think they couldn’t do the same if Russia were to leave.
Russia will certainly try to drive the region into chaos if it leaves. Its preferred tactic will be delayed action mines, like those which have already exploded in Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Karabakh, but also like those “in other places” which are only waiting to be set off to bring Moscow maximum advantage.
But if Russia is able to generate chaos, that will not last, Shmulyevich says. “The capacity for self-organization and the formation of a stable society” is one that “the peoples of the Caucasus have demonstrated over the course of millenia.” They can and will do so again when Russia departs.