Wednesday, April 6, 2022

North Caucasians Protesting Putin’s War More than Some in Moscow Think and Even More May Do So in the Near Future, Activists Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Mar. 28 – Russian rights groups say that fewer North Caucasians have protested against Putin’s war in Ukraine than have people in other parts of the country. Some activists in the region dispute that but others offer various explanations. And a few say that protests will increase as the war drags on and hits the region’s economy.

            One Moscow-based human rights group says that since February 24, there has not been a single case of protest in Daghestan or Chechnya, only one, about “fakes” in Ingushetia, and only a single case in North Ossetia (

            Valery Khatazhukhov, head of the Kabardino-Balkaria Regional Human Rights Center, disputes these figures, arguing that the Muscovites are counting only the incidents which end up with legal charges. In the North Caucasus, many who protest are dealt with in extra-legal ways and so don’t enter the statistics.

            But other activists in the region concede that there have been fewer protests in the region than elsewhere. Some suggest that is because the authorities there are far more ready to use force than officials in other regions. Others say it is because people in the North Caucasus have been living under repressive conditions far longer.

            And still others say that some North Caucasians, the Daghestanis in particular, retain a positive view of Putin while others have been zombified by state media that in many parts of the North Caucasus are not challenged by any independent sources. But many North Caucasians are upset about the war even if they are not taking to the streets.

            In the words of one activist, “mothers are asking why their children must die there? Why can’t diplomats reach agreement without bombing and shooting?” People are increasingly angry by inflation and shortages of imported medicines like insulin; and she predicts they will be even angrier when shortages appear of seeds for planting later this spring.

            Then, the unnamed activist says, the situation in the North Caucasus with respect to Putin’s war in Ukraine will change dramatically.


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