July 30, 2010

THERE IS NO RUSSIA:

Islamists Gain Upper Hand in Russian Republic (Matthias Schepp , 7/30/10, Der Spiegel)

Close to 9 million people live in the autonomous republics of Russia's northern Caucasus. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, each of these republics, particularly Chechnya, has been plagued by terrorism and war. But nowhere is the situation today as explosive as it is in Dagestan. This desperately poor strip of land on the western shore of the Caspian Sea, which is smaller than the US state of West Virginia, is home to several dozen ethnic groups that are bitterly at odds over government posts and grazing land, while an Islamist insurgency wages a war against Moscow and Dagestan's Russian-controlled government.

The resistance against the military campaigns of Czarist troops began in Dagestan more than 150 years ago. Russia needed a force of more than 300,000 to finally subjugate the region after a war than raged for about 30 years. The spirit of resistance continues to shape the republic today. Two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union, chaos prevails in Dagestan, primarily because of the activities of radical Islamists. The Caucasus republic has become almost ungovernable.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 30, 2010 5:27 AM
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