Another Caucasus war for Putin? Daghestan aligns with Chechnya against Russian law enforcement

Putin and Ramazan Abdulatipov, the Putin-appointed head of Daghestan (Image: kremlin.ru)

Putin and Ramazan Abdulatipov, the Putin-appointed head of Daghestan (Image: kremlin.ru) 

2015/04/29 • Analysis & Opinion, Russia

Vladimir Putin’s “Kadyrov problem” just got a lot larger, so large in fact that it may ultimately cost Moscow control of the North Caucasus: Yesterday, Ramazan Abdulatipov, the Putin-appointed head of Daghestan, said that he supports Ramzan Kadyrov’s position in his conflict with the Russian Interior Ministry.

Abdulatipov said that if anyone wants to cross into Daghestan, including those who identify themselves as federal forces, he expects to be advised and then he will give the answer as to whether these are “ours or not ours.”

There are at least three reasons why the Daghestani leader’s declaration makes Putin’s problem a great deal larger and far more complicated to resolve.

For background on Putin’s “Kadyrov problem,” see How Putin’s ‘Kadyrov problem’ impacts Russia and Ukraine.
  • First and most immediately, it means that if Putin sacks Kadyrov in order to curry favor with the siloviki in Moscow, he almost certainly will have to fire Abdulatipov and perhaps other North Caucasus republic leaders as well, something that almost certainly would in and of itself lead to the further destabilization of the region.
  • Second, and even more worrying from Moscow’s perspective, it suggests that a united front may be emerging among these republic leaders about how the Russian authorities are conducting themselves in the North Caucasus. Abdulatipov normally is one of the most cautious of the group. Consequently, if he is saying this, others likely feel the same way.
  • And third, it shows that Moscow’s ability to rely on its longstanding policy of divide and rule in the region may be increasingly limited. If the center can’t isolate Kadyrov the way it isolated Dzhokhar Dudayev, it loses one of the most important levers it has to control Chechnya or any other part of the region.

Edited by: A. N.

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  • The truth

    After Chechnya, comes Daghestan ! Mr putin is having problems !
    78 microrepublics left to go !

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      The dwarf demands that Kyiv sit down and “negotiate” with the so-called LNR and DNR, i.e. Kyiv must give them what they want without question. Will he do the same in the Caucasus, I wonder: sit down and negotiate, and give them what they want without question. His record during the past 15 years would indicate that he will not. At the same time, he can’t wage war on two fronts, the Ukraine and Caucasus, at the same time. He will have to abandon one conflict zone, or mass mobilise Russia to increase the size of the Russian army. Can he afford that financially, with falling oil and gas prices, foreign exchange reserves being slowly but surely depleted, a slowly imploding economy? Will the siloviki continue to support him if he supports Kadyrov?
      What about Central Asia? The US and other NATO forces are withdrawing from Afghanistan, at the same time the dwarf is transferring troops from Central Asia to the Ukrainian border….. leaving the Stans vulnerable to insurgency, and ultimately also Russia itself.
      Will the dwarf start to think, will he listen to his advisers? Or do they tell him only what he wants to hear? Is he so obsessed with the Ukraine that he ignores everything else?

      • Michel Cloarec

        Don´t forget to buy popcorns, it will be fun to follow the news !

    • commieslayer

      I just had an idea … What if someone helped those republics to reclaim their independence ? I hear that Tatarstan would love that idea.

      • Michel Cloarec

        We only have to wait , buy a larger tv screen, buy popcorns and nice beer and enjoy the implosion and explosion av all those tiny persecuted republics. I think some one told me russland republic could be max 60 M. That is manageable for the ineptocrat kremlin.

  • Czech Friend

    The question is: how can we stoke that promising fire? Here’s hoping CIA and others won’t miss this chance!

  • Dirk Smith

    It appears Count Chocula has bit off more than he can chew. His failures and lies will soon catch up to him regardless of his parades and propaganda diversions. Let’s kick things off with Maidan Moscow; what do you say?

    • commieslayer

      First Maidan Tatarstan. It will create a THIRD front for Putty-Poot to worry about.

  • Murf

    Once the Caucasus erupt it will be time for Georgia and Ukraine to take back what was theirs.

  • Vol Ya

    It is only a matter of time before russia crumbles under putin’s mismanagement and corruption and abuse of power. It is just a question of how badly he destroys russia in the process and what is left of russia in the end.

  • Michel Cloarec

    I never understood why all these explosions/implosions did not occured in 1993 , after the first sign of famine in putinland.