Dmitry's Dilemma: The Resurgence of Insurgent Activities in the North Caucasus


A Caucasian proverb reads, “When will blood cease to flow in the mountains? When sugarcane grows in the snows.” In spite of the fact that Moscow officially announced the end of its decade-long anti-terrorism campaign in the North Caucasus in mid-April 2009, the considerable spike in the number of violent attacks carried out by insurgents throughout the region since then clearly indicates that the Kremlin has failed to pacify the restless region. According to data gathered by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), in 2009 insurgents carried out a total of 1,101 attacks (mainly within the republics of Chechnya, Dagestan, and Ingushetia), resulting in 916 deaths. Judging by the sheer number of attacks (795) resulting in deaths (586) from the previous year (2008), it appears as if the ongoing conflict in the North Caucasus is beginning to spiral out of control.[1] Yet, why is Russia experiencing such a stark rise in the occurrence of violent attacks? This article posits that the reason why peace in the North Caucasus remains elusive is because the Kremlin has yet to embrace a strategy which encourages the promotion of ‘good governance’ in Chechnya, Dagestan, and Ingushetia. Thus, in order to achieve a lasting peace, Moscow needs to adopt a new counterinsurgency strategy which focuses on convincing government leaders in the region to be more accountable to their publics.


A History of Violence

For more than a decade now, Moscow has been waging a counterinsurgency operation in the North Caucasus in an effort to ensure that Russia’s volatile south remains under the Kremlin’s control. Prior to the onset of the Second Chechen War (1999-2009), Russian military forces sought to suppress a nationalist revolt led by Chechen warlord Dzhokhar Dudayev in the mid-1990s. Much to the Kremlin’s dismay, however, the First Chechen War (1994-1996) ended in stalemate with the signing of the Khasavyurt Accords in which both sides agreed that Chechnya’s political status in relation to Russia would ultimately be decided at a later date. Several years later, hostilities resumed after Russian authorities claimed that Chechen terrorists were responsible for staging a series of bombing attacks in Moscow residential neighborhoods. In addition to the 1999 Moscow bombings, Islamic militants stationed in Chechnya under the command of Ibn al-Khattab and Shamil Basayev invaded neighboring Dagestan in the summer of 1999 in an effort to overthrow the ruling provincial government and assume authoritative control over the republic. In response to these events, newly appointed Russian PM Vladimir Putin ordered the redeployment of military forces to the North Caucasus. Over the course of the next several months, the Russian military bombarded Grozny and battled against Chechen separatists and foreign jihadists, essentially pulverizing the administrative center in the process.[2]

Looking back, it is important to recall that in the summer of 1999 when Putin first rose to political prominence, then outgoing Russian President Boris Yeltsin began billing his soon-to-be successor as the man who could resolve the chaotic situation in the North Caucasus and bring stability to Russia. Generally speaking, the Kremlin has succeeded in eliminating many of the leading figures involved in waging war against Russia. Putin thus has made good on his word to find the terrorists and kill them wherever they lurk. Yet, the recent spike in violent attacks throughout the region, coupled with the occurrence of the 2010 Moscow subway bombings, seems to indicate that not very much has been accomplished over the course of the past ten years. Why is this so? What is the Kremlin failing to realize in its efforts to pacify the North Caucasus?

Putin's Power Play

 In retrospect, the Kremlin’s stated objective in the Second Chechen War was to remove the governing authority in Chechnya at the time, install a new pro-Kremlin regime in Grozny, and restore order by suppressing the national separatist movement and eliminating the radical Islamist threat in the region. To accomplish these tasks, Putin (who assumed the presidency after Yeltsin’s 1999 New Year’s Eve resignation) set out to eradicate the leadership of the Caucasian Front and hand power over to a set of local strongmen who could be entrusted to tow the Kremlin line. By 2008, it appeared as if Putin’s strategy had paid off since a considerable portion of the leadership of both the Caucasian Front and the Arab Mujahiddeen in Chechnya had been eliminated. To date, Russia has confirmed the deaths of Ibn al-Khattab (2002), Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev (2004), Abu al-Walid (2004), Muslim Atayev (2005), Aslan Maskhadov (2005), Ilyas Gorchkhanov (2005), Rasul Makasharipov (2005), Adbul Halim Sadulayev (2006), Shamil Basayev (2006), Abu Hafs al-Urduni (2006), Rappani Khalilov (2007), and Abdul Madzhid (2008). Furthermore, despite the fact that Akhmad Kadyrov, Putin’s hand-picked President of the newly renamed Chechen Republic, was killed in a bombing attack while attending a Victory Day parade in May of 2004, the Kremlin responded by grooming the fallen leader’s son Ramzan for the high office. Since assuming the presidential post, the youthful Kadyrov has been billed by Moscow as a strong leader who has brought Chechnya under control. Thus, despite the occurrence of several horrific terrorist attacks such as the October 2002 Nord-Ost theater siege, the August 2004 Russian aircraft bombings, and the September 2004 Beslan school massacre in North Ossetia during Putin’s tenure, it seemed as if this strategy had engendered positive results by the end of his second term in office. Shortly thereafter, on April 16, 2009 the Kremlin officially announced the end of its decade-long anti-terrorism campaign in the North Caucasus.[3]

Mission Accomplished?

 Today, few really know what is happening on the ground in the North Caucasus. One reason in particular as to why Russia’s ongoing conflict in Chechnya, Dagestan, and Ingushetia remains virtually hidden from the Russian public is because journalists and human rights activists have been coerced into silence, either by insurgents or state security forces operating within the region. Aside from the slayings of Anna Politkovskaya, Stanislav Markelov, and Natalya Estemirova, unsolved murders involving the deaths of local reporters and civil society activists remain on the rise. That said, the frequency of such crimes pales in comparison to the increase in the number of attacks that have been staged by insurgents since mid-April of 2009.[4]

According to statistics gathered by CSIS, 436 people were killed during the summer of 2009 in insurgent-related attacks in the North Caucasus. Additionally, Doku Umarov, the self-proclaimed leader of the Caucasian Front, has publicly stated that insurgents are planning to carry out attacks in Russia’s major cities in an effort to force the Kremlin to concede defeat and withdraw from the region.[5] This threat is very real. In late November of 2009, insurgents detonated an explosive device on a train traveling to St. Petersburg, resulting in the derailment of the Nevsky Express and the deaths of approximately two dozen passengers.[6] So far, Russian forces have responded to the escalation in violence by stepping-up their anti-terrorism campaign tactics throughout the region. Much to Moscow’s dismay, however, violent attacks are now occurring on a daily basis across much of the North Caucasus. Meanwhile, provincial governing officials do not want to address to this problem because doing so would entail having to admit that their preferred way of dealing with this issue has not been successful. To quote Lyudmila Alexeyeva of the Moscow Helsinki Group, “All they say is that things are beautiful in Russia.”[7]

Hearts and Minds

 Russia has sought to retain its control over the North Caucasus by eliminating radical Islamist networks, neutralizing the Russian media, and vesting governmental authority within the hands of a select group of local pro-Kremlin strongmen. In doing so, Moscow believes that it can pacify the North Caucasus by coercing its opponents into submission.8 To be certain, newly elected Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has tried to distance himself from his predecessor’s methods and initiate a change in strategy, most notably by replacing (now) former Ingush local strongman and President Murat Zyazikov (2002-2008) with Yunus-bek Yevkurov. Yevkurov, a self-proclaimed moderate, has sought to rein in government corruption, curtail human rights violations (particularly in instances where abuses are alleged to have been committed by state security forces), and reach-out to insurgents by offering them amnesty in return for laying down their arms. In June of 2009, however, Yevkurov was wounded in a suicide bombing attack on his motorcade which resulted in his hospitalization as a result of falling into a coma. Upon leaving the hospital several months later, another suicide bomber struck inside Ingushetia. Needless to say, Yevkurov has not made much progress in accomplishing his stated objectives.9 In another interesting turn of events, in February 2010 Medvedev nominated Magomedsalam Magomedov to replace President Mukhu Aliyev (2006-2010) as the head governing official of Dagestan. As of recently, the administrative center of Makhachkala has come to serve as the setting for a spate of deadly attacks in which insurgents have targeted police forces, government officials, and civilians. Yet, in order to make any headway in the fight against the insurgency, Magomedov, an ethnic Dargin, will only succeed in charting a constructive course by working with rival clans.10

Generally speaking, the recent wave of insurgent attacks over the past year indicates that Russia’s reliance on brute force alone will not bring peace to the restless region. Thus far, Moscow has chosen to renew its anti-terrorism campaign by conducting search and destroy missions and throwing its full support behind a set of local hand-picked leaders whose governments are believed to be responsible for engaging in a variety of human rights abuses.11 But herein lays the problem. Today in academia, conventional wisdom stipulates that if a state provides a specific ethnic group with enhanced autonomy, then the leaders of that ethnic group will press for more autonomy over time. This argument seems to hold up under scrutiny in the South Caucasus.12 Yet, it can also be argued that Moscow’s strong-handed policies in the North Caucasus have actually turned the local populations of Chechnya, Dagestan, and Ingushetia against their ruling provincial goverments.13 It also appears as if the strongmen do not understand why insurgents are continuing to mount attacks. Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov recently stated that “there will be no way back from the forest” for those who chose to adopt the insurgent way of life. In other words, instead of trying to neutralize the insurgency by offering clemency to combatants, Kadyrov has proclaimed that anyone suspected of partaking in insurgent activities will be summarily executed. Furthermore, family members of suspected insurgents now face harassment from the local state authorities for allowing their relatives to join the resistance.14 Needless to say, such a strategy is counterproductive in nature because it does not address the core issue as to why more people are joining the resistance. Even more so, Moscow and Grozny appear to be pulling in different directions when it comes to combating the insurgency. On this point, Kadyrov recently invited Akhmed Zakayev, the acting PM in exile of the unrecognized Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, to return to Chechnya in the hopes that doing so would weaken the mounting insurgency. Yet, since Moscow still harbors ill feelings towards Zakayev and considers him a terrorist, it is unlikely that Kadyrov will be hosting his old rival anytime soon.15

The Parade of Nations

 On the eve of the 2008 Olympic Games, Georgian soldiers clashed with Russian peacekeepers stationed inside the breakaway region of South Ossetia. In response, Russian military forces crossed into neighboring Georgia and occupied Abkhazia and South Ossetia. After five days of heavy fighting and the signing of a French-brokered ceasefire, Russia chose to recognize the de facto authorities in Abkhazia and South Ossetia as sovereign governing entities by instituting full diplomatic relations with the ruling regimes in both Sukhumi and Tskhinvali.16

To this day, the origins of the 2008 South Ossetia War remain shrouded in mystery. Did Georgia or Russia start the war? Did Russia lure Georgia into a trap? And what can be said about the U.S. government’s role in this matter? To be certain, as the second anniversary of the Russia-Georgia War passes, many questions still remain without definitive answers. That said, it appears as if Russia has succeeded in annexing a considerable portion of Georgia’s territory. Still, it remains to be seen as to whether Moscow’s recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as sovereign independent nations will further destabilize the situation on the ground in the North Caucasus. On this point, former Russian Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemstov argues that Russia’s decision to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as sovereign independent nations may serve to embolden separatists in the North Caucasus to begin calling for greater autonomy from Moscow.17 In the event that this scenario were to play out, Russia would in all likelihood have no choice but to suppress such nationalist aspirations by sending more troops to the region.

In response to the latest uptick in attacks across the region, Moscow has hinted that Georgia may bear some responsibility in fueling the insurgency in the North Caucasus because Tbilisi allegedly harbors terrorists within its borders. Despite the fact that this accusation rings hollow on the international stage, such thinking by Russia further exacerbates the situation on the ground because it misdiagnoses the source of the problem. Instead, the Kremlin should focus its efforts more on trying to fully comprehend the internal dynamics of this prolonged conflict.1

‘New Thinking’

 To the casual observer, the ongoing violence in the North Caucasus can be characterized as a protracted civil war that is being waged on one side by Islamic militants who seek to secede from Russia and establish a Caucasian Emirate and on the other side by pro-Kremlin secularists who seek to ensure that Moscow retains control over the North Caucasus. Yet, is it appropriate to classify the current state of affairs in the North Caucasus as a “binary conflict” based upon “master cleavages” that is being fueled by “supra-local interests”? According to Kalyvas (2003), although most historical accounts of civil wars would lead us to believe otherwise, such interpretations do not hold up under scrutiny in most instances. On this point, Kalyvas argues that the majority of people who take part in such conflicts do so because they seek to realize “private” or “local” interests.19 Thus, it would be rash to perceive the resurgence of insurgent activities in the North Caucasus as the mere continuation of a separatist war led by nationalists and foreign jihadists. To the contrary, although a portion of combatants fight for this cause in the region today, it appears as if more and more people are adopting the insurgent way of life because the provincial governments are failing to take their “private” interests into consideration.

In spite this gloomy state of affairs, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is vigorously searching for a way to resolve the deteriorating security situation in the North Caucasus.20 Evidently, Medvedev believes that the factors which continue to fuel the insurgency are domestic in nature. Hence, high unemployment levels, widespread citizen disillusionment with government corruption, the absence of the rule of law, and clan rivalries appear to be the driving forces behind the latest spike in violent attacks. To combat these growing trends, Medvedev has begun issuing calls to root out corruption within the police forces in the region while simultaneously subsidizing the promotion of a more ‘moderate’ brand of Islam in religious education centers.21 Still, it does not appear as if the Kremlin has come up yet with a strategy to quell the insurgency. On a related note, Medvedev recently appointed Aleksandr Khloponin, the former Governor of Krasnoyarsk Krai, to serve as Vice Premier of the Russian Federation and Plenipotentiary Envoy of the new North Caucasian Federal District. Medvedev thus appears to be banking on the notion that by working together in unison, Khloponin (who boasts a successful track record in overseeing the implementation of economic development projects in Siberia), Russia’s special forces, and a new cadre of moderate imams will be able to pacify the region.2

The End of the Tunnel

 Recently, several high-ranking leaders of the Caucasian Front have either been killed (such as spiritual leader Said Buryatsky and guerrilla leader Anzor Astemirov of the Yarmuk Jamaat in Kabardino-Balkaria) or captured (Emir Magas) by Russian special forces. As well, despite the fact that numerous reports alleging that Doku Umarov has been killed remain unconfirmed, it appears as if a schism has emerged amongst the leadership of the Caucasian Front. This past summer, a video posted on KavkazCenter appeared to show Umarov handing over operational commands to Aslambek Vadalov. Shortly thereafter, however, Umarov declared in another video that he had not stepped down from his post and would continue to wage jihad.23

In spite of these advancements, the Kremlin has not been able to put a stop to the latest wave of terrorist attacks. On March 29, 2010 two female suicide bombers detonated themselves on the Moscow Metro, killing 39 additional people and wounding 70 in the process.24 The occurrence of the Moscow subway bombings marks the first time since 2004 that insurgents have struck inside the Russian capital. In the aftermath of the subway bombings, insurgents have chosen to expand their range of operations by carrying out attacks in Nalchik, Stavropol, Pyatigorsk, Vladikavkaz, and elsewhere throughout the region. Overall, the recent spike in insurgent activities in the North Caucasus, coupled with the Kremlin’s failure to effectively combat the wildfires that raged across the western half of the country this past summer, have placed Vladimir Putin in an uncomfortable position. Looking back, Putin (who is lauded for bringing stability to Russia during his presidential tenure) sought to tame the country’s restive south by spearheading a military campaign, propping up local strongmen, and suppressing civil liberties. Yet, since the passage of the first anniversary of the Kremlin’s statement of April 16, 2009 marking the end of its anti-terrorism campaign, it appears as if Putin’s strategy has failed to protect Russia’s citizens from experiencing the horrors of a seemingly endless asymmetric war.25

So, when will blood cease to flow in the North Caucasus? Perhaps when Moscow decides to shy away from relying on brute force and focus instead on promoting regional governmental accountability. By meeting with the President of the World Bank Robert Zoellick to discuss funding for development projects in the North Caucasus, President Medvedev appears to be charting a new course.26 Yet, in order to stem the rising tide of violence Moscow needs to craft a new strategy which caters to the needs of the local populations so that the insurgency loses momentum. In the final analysis, the people of the North Caucasus do not seek to wage a war for independence. Instead, these people want their governments to provide them with services, to ensure their security and well-being, and to be held accountable to them for not doing so. The people of the North Caucasus want stability and order, but they also want their leaders to enforce, uphold, and abide by the rule of law. Thus, the solution to stemming the violence in the North Caucasus lays in convincing provincial government leaders to begin practicing ‘good governance’. Broadly, ‘good governance’ is best defined as the process by which major socio-political and socio-economic decisions are brokered and implemented by a ruling governing authority in such a manner which is deemed to be legitimate by virtually all societal actors on account of the fact that the government brokers and implements such decisions in a responsive, transparent, accountable, and efficient manner.27 Hence, by embracing  and adhering to this type of governing arrangement, both Moscow and the ruling governing authorities in the republics of Chechnya, Dagestan, and Ingushetia can initiate a sharp break with past policies in the North Caucasus and begin laying the foundations for the eventual resolution of this prolonged conflict.

The Kremlin's Quagmire

 Unfortunately, the prospects of such a dream ever becoming a reality remain dim at the moment. According to data recently gathered by CSIS, the number of deaths resulting from violent attacks over the course of the past three years in the North Caucasus during the spring months (i.e. from January 1st to April 30th) has increased from 132 (2008) to 219 (2010) incidences. Surprisingly, Dagestan surpassed Ingushetia this past spring as the most volatile republic in the region.28 What strategy then should Russia adopt in the hopes of pacifying the region? Looking forward, Russia can respond to the latest escalation in violence by pursuing any one of the following four available strategies. The first strategy is for Russia to simply maintain the status quo. If the Kremlin chooses to pursue this strategy, then Russian special forces will continue to hunt down and kill Islamic militants by conducting search and destroy missions while local military and police forces focus on trying to ensure the safety and security of the local populations. The second strategy is for Russia to deploy more military conscripts to the region. Under such a strategy, Moscow would surge its troop levels in the most restive republics. A third strategy would involve replacing Ramzan Kadyrov with a more moderate leader, thus concluding the process of removing Putin’s strongmen of Chechnya, Dagestan, and Ingushetia from power. Finally, the most preferable strategy entails combining certain elements of the other strategies. Such a strategy must include retaining a large Russian special forces presence within the region, deploying more conscripts to assist local military and police forces in providing security, compelling Kadyrov to lessen his grip over all matters of importance in Chechnya, and ensuring that provincial governments begin providing their local populations with better services.

Unfortunately, none of these strategies appear to be very attractive since they all come equipped with certain drawbacks. On this note, if the Kremlin chooses to simply maintain the status quo, then Moscow may inadvertently undermine Khloponin’s ability to oversee the region’s economic development. As well, if the Kremlin chooses to either deploy more troops to the region or remove Kadyrov from office, then Moscow may cause the Russian population to turn strongly against the war effort by sending more Russian youths into harm’s way or further inflame the situation on the ground by enfeebling local officials’ ability to preserve at least some semblance of stability. Based upon all of these drawbacks, the best option available to the Kremlin involves Moscow pursuing a multi-pronged strategy that focuses heavily on encouraging provincial governing officials to begin practicing ‘good governance’. Hence, by retaining a large Russian special forces presence in the region, deploying more conscripts to assist local forces in providing security, compelling Kadyrov to lessen his grip on power, and ensuring that provincial leaders conduct governmental affairs in a more accountable fashion, Russia may well succeed in bringing the North Caucasus under control. Still, it remains to be seen at this time as to whether Medvedev’s new way of thinking on how to resolve the worsening situation in the North Caucasus will eventually result in the pacification of the region.


 In closing, the resurgence of insurgent activities in the North Caucasus coupled with the latest round of terrorist attacks has placed Russia’s new president in a very difficult position, for Medvedev is now tasked with solving an extremely complex problem that even his predecessor, political benefactor, and governing partner, Vladimir Putin, could not decipher. Put simply, if the Kremlin does not initiate a change in strategy, then the North Caucasus will remain a ‘bleeding wound’. That said, Medvedev is hampered in his abilities to make any major breaks with past government policy because doing so could potentially serve to weaken the current Russian PM’s approval ratings. In the meantime, as long as the blood continues to flow like a river in the North Caucasus, neither economic development nor a moderate brand of Islam will be able to flourish. Instead, the key to achieving success lies in convincing provincial leaders to change their ways over time, eventually culminating in all regional ruling authorities practicing ‘good governance’.

At this point in time, the fate of Russia’s renewed anti-terrorist campaign in the North Caucasus remains unknown. So far, citizen disillusionment with the Kremlin’s military strategy has not transformed into widespread public protests against the war effort, mainly because the Russian government continues to crackdown on opposition groups but also because of the fact that such groups have not been able to garner any significant following within Russian society.29 However, if Moscow continues to adhere to the same course of action which it has in fact abided by for the past decade without experiencing much success, then the Kremlin may well be dealt another devastating military blow reminiscent of the outcome of the ill-fated Soviet-Afghan War.

Charles J. Sullivan is PhD Candidate in Political Science at the George Washington University, cjs2@gwmail.gwu.edu



[1] See “Violence in the North Caucasus: A Bloody Year,” Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2009, http://csis.org/files/publication/100114_Violence_NorthCaucasus_2009optmize.pdf (accessed 31 Aug. 2010). With respect to the aforementioned proverb, see Yossef Bodansky, Chechen Jihad: Al-Qaeda’s Training Ground and the Next Wave of Terror. New York, NY: Harper Collins, 2007.

[2] See Charles King and Raja Menon, “Prisoners of the Caucasus: Russia’s Invisible Civil War,” Foreign Affairs 89.4 (Jul./Aug. 2010), 26-27.

[3] See Michael Schwirtz, “Russia Ends Operations in Chechnya,” The New York Times, April 16, 2009, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/17/world/europe/17chechnya.html?_r=2 (accessed 31 Aug. 2010).

[4] See Sarah Mendelson, “(Un)civil Society in the North Caucasus,” Foreign Policy, August 12, 2009, http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2009/08/12/uncivil_society_in_the_north_caucasus (accessed 31 Aug. 2010).

[5] See Ellen Barry, “Chechnya and Its Neighbors Suffer a Relapse,” The New York Times, August 29, 2009, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/30/world/europe/30chechnya.html?_r=1&hp (accessed 31 Aug. 2010); See “Chechen Rebel Vows to Attack in Russia’s Cities,” Reuters, February 15, 2010, http://in.reuters.com/article/idINIndia-46183520100215 (accessed 31 Aug. 2010).

[6] See Matthew Campbell and Anna Voutsen, “Murder on the Nevsky Express,” The Sunday Times, November 29, 2009, http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article6936266.ece (accessed 31 Aug. 2010).

[7] See Anna Nemstova, “Another Murder in Russia’s Secret War,” Foreign Policy, October 30, 2009, http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2009/10/30/another_murder_in_russias_secret_war?page=0,0 (accessed 31 Aug. 2010).

8 See Philip Pan, “In Russia, An Intensifying Insurgency,” The Washington Post, October 30, 2009, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/29/AR2009102904842.html?wprss=rss_world (accessed 31 Aug. 2010).

9 See Philip Pan, “The Softer Hand,” The Washington Post, November 12, 2009, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/11/AR2009111127421.html (accessed 1 Sep. 2010). See also “The Yevkurov Experiment: An Assessment of the Ingushetia President’s First Year in Office”, The American Committee for Peace in the Caucasus – Freedom House, http://www.peaceinthecaucasus.org/sites/default/files/pdf/Yevkurov_Assessment.pdf (accessed 1 Sep. 2010).

10 See Kevin Leahy, “Moscow Appoints Compromise Candidate to Lead Troubled Dagestan,” Central Asia-Caucasus Institute Analyst, February 17, 2010, http://www.cacianalyst.org/?q=node/5267 (accessed 1 Sep. 2010). See also Ellen Barry, “Political Uncertainty Grips a Russian Republic,” The New York Times, January 30, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/31/world/europe/31dagestan.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=dagestan&st=cse (accessed 1 Sep. 2010). See also Ellen Barry, “With Breakdown of Order in Russia’s Dagestan Region, Fear Stalks Police,” The New York Times, March 20, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/21/world/europe/21dagestan.html?scp=1&sq=North%20Caucasus&st=cse (accessed 1 Sep. 2010). See also Valery Dzutsev, “Medvedev Picks Candidate With Long-Standing Political Ties as Dagestan’s President,” Eurasia Daily Monitor – Jamestown Foundation 7.28, February 10, 2010, http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews[swords]=8fd5893941d69d0be3f378576261ae3e&tx_ttnews[any_of_the_words]=chechnya&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=36028&tx_ttnews[backPid]=7&cHash=b9513c6e83 (accessed 1 Sep. 2010).

11 See Mark Franchetti, “Dirty War Rages on Russia’s Doorstep,” The Sunday Times, September 20, 2009, http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article6841296.ece (accessed 1 Sep. 2010). See also “Rule Without Law: Human Rights Violations in the North Caucasus,” Amnesty International, July 1, 2009, http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrc/docs/ngos/AI3_RussianFederation97.pdf (accessed 1 Sep. 2010).

12 See Svante Cornell, “Autonomy as a Source of Conflict: Caucasian Conflicts in Theoretical Perspective,” World Politics 54.2 (2002), 245-276.

13 See “Beyond the Kremlin’s Reach” The Economist, January 28, 2010.

14 See “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, May 18, 2009, http://www.rferl.org/content/No_More_Mr_Nice_Guy/1734191.html (accessed 1 Sep. 2010). See also “Russia Urged to Rein in Kadyrov as Families of Chechen Rebels Targeted,” Freedom House, June 1 2009, http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=70&release=990 (accessed 1 Sep. 2010).

15 See Dmitry Shlapentokh, “Kadyrov-Zakayev Talks Spark Concerns in Moscow,” Central Asia-Caucasus Institute Analyst, November 26, 2009, http://www.cacianalyst.org/?q=node/5225 (accessed 31 Aug. 2010).

16 See Charles King, “The Five-Day War: Managing Moscow After the Georgia Crisis,” Foreign Affairs 87.6 (Nov./Dec. 2008), 2-11.

17 See Boris Nemstov, “War Clouds in the Caucasus,” The Wall Street Journal, August 26, 2009, http://www.nemtsov.ru/?id=705904&PHPSESSID=0be3b17f524b3a010c2bdd0b7bb5de95 (accessed 31 Aug. 2010).

18 See “Georgia Rejects Russian Accusations of Collaboration with Al-Qaeda in North Caucasus,” Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, October 15, 2009, http://www.rferl.org/content/Georgian_Officials_Reject_Russian_Accusations_Of_Collaboration_With_AlQaeda_In_North_Caucasus/1852759.html (accessed 1 Sep. 2010). See also “FSB Accuses Georgia of Aiding Al-Qaeda in the North Caucasus,” Eurasia Daily Monitor – Jamestown Foundation 7.25, February 5, 2010, http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews[swords]=8fd5893941d69d0be3f378576261ae3e&tx_ttnews[any_of_the_words]=chechnya&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=36016&tx_ttnews[backPid]=7&cHash=078aaf4415 (accessed 1 Sep. 2010).

19 See Stathis Kalyvas, “The Ontology of “Political Violence”: Action and Identity in Civil Wars,” Perspectives on Politics 1.3 (2003), 475-494.

20 See “Medvedev Outlines Strategy to Contain North Caucasus Violence,” Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, August 20, 2009, http://www.rferl.org/content/Medvedev_Outlines_Strategy_To_Contain_North_Caucasus_Violence/1804508.html (accessed 1 Sep. 2010).

21 See Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, “The Kremlin’s Chechen Franchise,” BBC News, May 21, 2009, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8060624.stm (accessed 1 Sep. 2010). See also “Kremlin Says Police Reform Needed in Violent South,” Reuters, February 27, 2010, http://in.reuters.com/article/idINIndia-46535020100227 (accessed 1 Sep. 2010). See also Anna Nemstova, “Kremlin in the Caucasus: Pushing for a Moderate Islam,” The Washington Post, August 25, 2010, http://rbth.ru/articles/2010/08/25/kremlin_in_the_caucasus_pushing_for_a_moderate_islam04898.html (accessed 1 Sep. 2010).

22 See Aslan Doukaev, “Can Medvedev’s New Vision Bring Stability to the North Caucasus?,” Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, January 25, 2010, http://www.rferl.org/content/Commentary_Can_Medvedevs_New_Vision/1939203.html (accessed 1 Sep. 2010). See also Connor Humphries, “Kremlin Picks Outsider as New Caucasus Overlord,” Reuters, January 19, 2010, http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/LDE60I1XH.htm (accessed 1 Sep. 2010).       

23 See Ellen Barry, “Russia Confirms Killing of Militant Leader in Raid,” The New York Times, March 6, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/07/world/europe/07russia.html?_r=1&scp=5&sq=North%20Caucasus&st=cse (accessed 1 Sep. 2010). See also “Kabardian Insurgent Leader Killed in Nalchik,” Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, March 25, 2010, http://www.rferl.org/content/Kabardian_Insurgent_Leader_Killed_In_Nalchik/1993551.html (accessed 1 Sep. 2010). See also Ellen Barry, “Militant Leader Caught,” The New York Times, June 9, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/10/world/europe/10briefs-Ingushetia.html (accessed 1 Sep. 2010). See also “Unconfirmed Report: North Caucasus Insurgent Leader Dead,” Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, March 18, 2010, http://www.rferl.org/content/Unconfirmed_Report_North_Caucasus_Insurgent_Leader_Dead/1987729.html (accessed 1 Sep. 2010). See also “Following U-Turn, Umarov Turns On Udugov,” Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, August 6, 2010, http://www.rferl.org/content/Following_UTurn_Umarov_Turns_On_Udugov/2120651.html (accessed 1 Sep. 2010).

24 See “Moscow Mourns After Deadly Metro Attacks,” The Telegraph, March 30, 2010, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/7537138/Moscow-mourns-after-deadly-Metro-attacks.html (accessed 1 Sep. 2010). See also “North Caucasus Link Expected in Deadly Metro Attacks,” Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, March 30, 2010, http://www.rferl.org/content/Moscow_Metro_Rocked_By_Explosion/1996130.html (accessed 1 Sep. 2010).

25 See Brian Whitmore, “In Wake of Metro Bombings, Putin’s War on Terror is Under Fire,” Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, March 30, 2010, http://www.rferl.org/content/In_Wake_Of_Metro_Bombings_Putins_War_On_Terror_Is_Under_Fire/1998111.html

(accessed 1 Sep. 2010). See also Clifford Levy, “Moscow Attack a Test for Putin and His Record Against Terror,” The New York Times, March 29, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/30/world/europe/30moscow.html?_r=2 (accessed 1 Sep. 2010).

26 See Valery Dzutsev, “Moscow Struggles to Control and Modernize the North Caucasus,” Eurasia Daily Monitor – Jamestown Foundation 7.34, February 19, 2010, http://www.jamestown.org/programs/edm/single/?tx_ttnews[tt_news]=36069&tx_ttnews[backPid]=27&cHash=e9d14b3468 (accessed 31 Aug. 2010).

27 See “What is Good Governance?” United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, http://www.unescap.org/pdd/prs/ProjectActivities/Ongoing/gg/governance.asp (accessed 29 Nov. 2010).

28 See “Violence in the North Caucasus: On the Rise Again?,” Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2010, http://csis.org/files/publication/100513_Violence_in_the_North_Caucasus_Spring_2010.pdf (accessed 3 Sep. 2010).

29 Jason Lyall, “Pocket Protests: Rhetorical Coercion and the Micropolitics of Collective Action in Semi-Authoritarian Regimes,” World Politics 58.3(2006), 378-412. With respect to the case of the anti-war movement in Russia today, Lyall argues that the Kremlin’s use of state-sponsored repression against anti-war groups (particularly under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin during the Second Chechen War) has not brought about the demobilization of these groups on account of their organizational culture. That said, the anti-war movement in Russia has not been able to attract much of a popular following because the organizational cultures of such groups inhibit them from acquiring wide-spread appeal. Consequently, anti-war demonstrations amount to ‘pocket protests’.


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