Staunton, Jan. 25 – The republic authorities in Sakha have raided more than 180 homes and businesses belong to immigrant workers in Yakutsk in the wake of protests about a naturalized Tajik who had killed a Sakha man in a knife fight, an apparent effort to calm the situation by suggesting that the authorities are on the side of the titular nation.
These raids, first reported by Olga Balabakina, vice president of the Sakha government (t.me/balabkinaov/78135), suggest that the authorities fear that there is a great danger the protests will reignite and want to be seen as concerned about the same issues as the population (nemoskva.net/2024/01/25/rejdy-v-otnoshenii-migrantov-proveli-v-yakutii-posle-stihijnoj-akczii-protesta/).
Earlier, they had deployed police against the protesters and detained some of them. At the same time, Moscow shut down much of the Internet in the republic, something the republic government itself is not in a position to do on its own, an action that has received much more attention (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2024/01/sakha-residents-take-to-streets-to.html).
That makes these raids intriguing because it suggests the republic government feels that the best way to calm the situation is to use carrots – that is, to implicitly take the side of the protesters – than the sticks favored by Moscow, something that may set the stage for additional conflicts between the Russian capital and Yakutsk.