October 11, 2011

THERE IS NO RUSSIA:

Russian Anger Grows Over Chechnya Subsidies (MICHAEL SCHWIRTZ, 10/09/11, NY Times)

Resentment over the lavish subsidies paid to Chechnya and other regions in the mostly Muslim North Caucasus to secure loyalty after the war has spawned a movement dedicated to cutting the region off financially.

In protest last week, hundreds of people, mostly young men, marched across the Moscow River from Mr. Putin's office, shouting, "Stop feeding the Caucasus!"

Their anger was forged not only by continued separatist violence in the North Caucasus -- and related terrorist attacks in Moscow -- but also by the regional elites' brazen displays of wealth. For his 35th birthday last week, Chechnya's leader, Ramzan A. Kadyrov, put on a glittering celebration complete with a troupe of foreign acrobats and a performance by the British celebrity violinist Vanessa-Mae.

Some critics have even called for the North Caucasus to be severed from Russia completely, a surprising turnaround given the amount of Russian blood and treasure spent trying to keep it. An opinion poll conducted by the Levada Center, a Moscow polling agency, in May found that 51 percent of the population would not care if the country's borders were redrawn to exclude Chechnya, higher than at any time during Mr. Putin's leadership.

It's never been a question of if, just when.  Chechnya isn't Russian.

Posted by at October 11, 2011 5:06 AM
  

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