Sunday, August 20, 2023

A Coincidence or a Cause? Daghestani Infrastructure Collapses and Protests Begin a Few Days after Kyiv Publicist Talks about Using Drones against that Republic's Facilities

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Aug. 16 – On August 11, Kyiv publicist Ivan Yakovin declared online that Russia’s communal infrastructure could be most usefully attacked by Ukrainian drones during August when demands on the electric and water grids in places like Daghestan were the highest and at greatest strain (

            Three days later, Daghestanis took to the streets in the hundreds to protest shortages of water and electricity and even blocked a federal highway passing through the republic (, and

            The odds are that this was a coincidence because communal infrastructure in many parts of the Russian Federation has long been at the edge of collapse, and the month of August is typically the time when people suffer the most and thus are inclined to protest. But the possibility that Ukraine was responsible for triggering these events cannot be entirely dismissed.

            US-based Russian commentator Aleksandr Nemets is among those who believe that Ukraine may have played a role there and could exploit Russian weakness in this area in the future. He argues that the Russian Federation is approaching its end but the end may not come in soon but only months or years from now (

            And he suggests there are “two instruments of ‘accelerating’” this outcome and that they are interrelated: “new Ukrainian drones and centrifugal tendencies (disintegration) of the Russian Federation.” Daghestan is just the beginning of what could be a broad attack on Russian infrastructure that could bring Moscow to its knees, Nemets suggests.

            That North Caucasus republic is especially intriguing, he continues, because it is usually dismissed “as one of the poorest Russian autonomies which survives only thanks to federal subsidies,” a pattern that in the minds of most makes it a highly unlikely candidate for any national movement to emerge.

            “But according to a recently published interview with ‘the leaders of Daghestani independence,’ Nemets says, “Daghestan possesses on the shelf of the Caspian Sea enormous reserves of oil and natural gas. If it becomes independent, it will attract more foreign investment and earn more money from the export of petroleum.”

            At the very least, the possibility that Ukraine and the popular actions in Daghestan are connected is a Russian nightmare, one likely to lead the Kremlin to intensify its repression there, even though that may prove to be like fighting a grease fire with water, something that will only spread the flames and not put them out.   

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