Friday, November 3, 2023

Moscow Behind Daghestani Outrages Just as It was Behind Apartment Explosions in 1999 – and for Much the Same Reason, Vintsevskaya Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Nov. 1 – What happened at the Makhachkala airport over the weekend was “provoked by the Kremlin itself,” Tatyana Vintsevskaya says, “in order to undermine regionalist attitudes in Daghestan and shift popular discontent toward false goals” that the Kremlin will find it easier to fight and manipulate.

            The Siberian activist now forced to live in emigration says that this is part of a more general Kremlin response to what has been going on across what is now the Russian Federation: “Fearing regionalism, the Kremlin is exacerbating ethno-religious conflicts,” an approach that may bring short term advantages to it but is likely to backfire (

            And it represents a direct continuation of what happened in 1999 when a series of apartment bombings, that began by the way in the Daghestani city of Buinaksk, not only led to the opening of the second post-Soviet Chechen war but provided the basis for Putin’s rise to power as president.

            Vintsevskaya points out that “protests against mobilization for the war in Ukraine, which took place in Daghestan last fall with the blocking of highways and clashes wish police turned out to be the most massive among all the regions of the Russian Federation and extremely frightened the Kremlin (

            According to her, the numerous peoples of Daghestan “in that way expressed their lack of agreement with the Moscow narrative of ‘the Russian world’ which was designed to convert them into cannon fodder for the empire.” The Kremlin has struggled to come up with a response, but it now has one in the playing up of anti-Israel attitudes among the Muslims in that republic.

            By prompting the Daghestanis to focus on Israel rather than on Moscow’s war in Ukraine, the Kremlin is confident that it can restore control of the situation, given that it has had much success in shifting the narrative of other groups in the Russian Federation, including opponents of Putin’s falsification of elections by seizing Ukraine’s Crimea.

            The stakes are high: “By exacerbating ethno-religious conflicts, the Kremlin is seeking in every possible way to block the formation of civilized regionalism in Russia;” but in so doing, it may be unleashing another even more terrible force that will challenge Putin and his regime even more directly and violently.

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