Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Like His Predecessors, ‘Putin Doesn’t Have the Slightest Idea What to Do with the North Caucasus,' Yakovenko Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 12 – Over the last three centuries, the central Russian government has created a series of governors general to rule the North Caucasus.  All have failed, many after a relatively brief time; and Vladimir Putin’s attempt to introduce a new one, albeit under different terms in Daghestan, is set to fail quickly as well, according to Igor Yakovenko.

            That reflects two common problems, the Russian commentator says.  On the one hand, the peoples of the North Caucasus can be “bent” by military force but they cannot be “broken” to the will of Russian rulers. And on the other, “Putin and his entourage don’t have the slightest idea what to do” there (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5A81B34A8AF56).

            And so they are copying what others have done before, albeit under different words, imposing external rule as part of an effort to take control of the situation, Yakovenko continues.  But such efforts at establishing control by outsiders have typically been called governors general; and after relatively short time periods – never more than 19 years – they have failed.

            Putin last December gave the order to his man in Makachkala, Vladimir Vasilyev, to establish such external rule But both the Kremlin leader and his agent failed to recognize that external rule in the North Caucasus has sometimes “pacified” the militant mountaineers, but such an approach has never succeeded in “administering” them or solving their problems.

            The reason the two of them don’t understand what to do in Daghestan is that they don’t have any idea “what to do with Russia as a whole,” although there is a difference: The Kremlin views Russia as Russian even with its Tatar, Buryat or Sakha populations. But it views “the North Caucasus as ‘alien.’” 

            Indeed, “by place Daghestan completely under outside administration, Putin has not solved a single local problem” but he has “completely lost is opportunity for controlling what is taking place in Daghestani society.” And he has thus guaranteed that the Kremlin today will soon suffer the same defeats that earlier governors general did.

             But Putin has done more than that: By this action, he has stripped away all the fine words to describe what remains an imperial arrangement and has acquired at a minimum “three million more opponents.”  That will only accelerate his system’s collapse.  And that, Yakovenko says, “isn’t a bad thing” at all.

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