Sunday, December 29, 2019

Returning Daghestan to ‘Russian Legal Framework’ has Been a Disaster, Experts Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 27 – It has long been a mantra of Vladimir Putin and his representatives that the republics of the North Caucasus must be returned to “the legal framework of Russia” rather than continuing to act on the basis of traditional legal arrangements that set them apart from the rest of the country. 

            But in a 3300-word article, three specialists document that the steps – including in the first instance the introduction of outsiders as rulers -- Moscow has taken to do that have either exacerbated the problems Daghestan faced before or introduced new and more dangerous phenomena including official corruption (

            Consequently, V.V. Obrezha of the Moscow Social Council of Civil Society, A.M. Kurbanova, head of its Daghestani counterpart, and A.M. Kolov, also of the Moscow Council, argue that “only someone connected with the history, culture and land [of Daghestan] is capable of defending the interests of his people.”

            “Daghestanis must show greater activity in support of any actions directed at the good of the republic and its citizens” and stand guard against those who undermine the republic and by so doing undermine the Caucasus as a whole “thereby weakening Russia” in the name of imposing Russian law and Russian rulers on everyone.

            To that end, they make four proposals:

·         First, “to disband in Daghestan federal power structures which are not capable of carrying out the social-economic programs of the republic and instead use direct financing of the projects of the development of the region.”

·         Second, “to appoint to state service persons having the necessary professional experience and moral qualities by taking into account the principle of ‘the right of nations to self-determination’ and not use temporary people from outside.”

·         Third, “to revise the points of the legislation of the Republic of Daghestan which do not correspond to the Constitutions of Russia and of Daghestan” and

·         Fourth, “to create a commission” to ensure that the state institutions in Daghestan interact with and reflect the views of civil society there.

This is the most sweeping attack yet not only on Vladimir Vasiliyev, the Moscow-installed republic head, but on all moves to suppress Daghestani legislation in favor of Russian. As such, it is a direct challenge to Moscow and will be seen by many in the republic and broader region as almost a call for the pursuit of “national self-determination,” that is, independence.

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