Is it worth for Russia to keep North Caucasus?

Discussion in 'Russian Politics' started by Jussi, May 10, 2013.

  1. Jussi

    Jussi Dead Soul

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    North Caucasus is the poorest, most violent and troublesome and less integrated and "russified" region in the Russian Federation. I am talking about the Muslim republics of Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia and Kabardino-Balkaria.

    The Muslim North Caucasus has been a part of Russia for two centuries but Russia has failed to fully integrate them into a Russian state. In fact the situation has gotten worse since the fall of the Soviet Union.

    Russia fought two brutal wars in Chechnya with great cost for the country. The region is not in a state of war but a constant threat of terrorism and militant insurgency exists. The region produces very little economically but drains Russia's resources to maintain order. Billions of dollars have been used to rebuild Chechnya, but while Chechnya has been more calm lately the insurgency has spread to Dagestan and Ingushetia.

    The biggest problem for Russia in my opinion is that a big portion of North Caucasus population do not feel "Russian" and are not loyal to the country. The support of Caucasus nationalists and islamic extremists is wide spread among the population. These are not some fringe elements but popular movements and ideas especially among the younger people.

    Another problem for Russia is the internal immigration from North Caucasus to Slavic Russia. When these people immigrate they bring their problems and attitudes with them. We see more and more Caucasus Muslims in traditionally Slavic Russian cities like Rostov-on-Don and Krasnodar. There are also hundreds of thousands of them in Moscow.

    Have the recent developments shown that the Caucasus Muslims are an alien and hostile element in the Russian Federation that can never be "russified" like Tatars were before? Will they always be the "soft underbelly" and an ever growing problem in Russia (as their demographics are better than the demographics of the Slavic Russians)?

    Should Russia consider kicking these republics out of the Federation or should they be kept in at all cost?
  2. Alexa M

    Alexa M Dead Soul

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    But will excluding North Caucasus from Russia necessary stop people migrating into Russia? I can imagine that if Moscow's stops the money flowing to places like Dagestan or Chechnya the economic situation there will become dire.
  3. Jussi

    Jussi Dead Soul

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    Russia could just ban them from immigrating and deport the North Caucasus Muslims currently living in Russia.
  4. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Russian studies texts invariably state that the absence of natural frontiers of the Eurasian borderland state that was Ancient Rus' and which, through the course of time, expanded territorially to become the Russian Empire, was a determining factor in Russian history: this open frontier - the largest in the world - necessitated a permanent standing army that far outnumbered contemporary European ones. Of this frontier, Tibor Szamuely in his "The Russian Tradition" (Martin, Secker & Warburg Ltd., 1974) writes:

    "Until the 17th century the effective frontier passed along the Oka river, less than a hundred miles from Moscow. As long as it existed, like a terrible gaping wound through which Russia's strength poured out, there could be no stability, no peace. The closing of the southern frontier and the establishment of security from Tatar incursion became, and remained until the end of the 18th century, the all-important and overriding objective of the Russian state.

    "This task demanded a total, unremitting and ruthless concentration of all natural resources, both human and material, that for scope and intensity is probably unparalleled, over a comparable period of time, by any other nation. Russia's struggle with the Tatars comes nearer to the modern concept of total war than anything else in pre-twentieth century European history.

    "If we consider the size and general backwardness of the country, the scattered nature of its settlement, and the almost complete absence of roads, we can only marvel at the quality of organization and the degree of efficiency achieved. Every year at the beginning of spring the fighting-men would arrive, fully equipped at their call-up points, from there to take up their assigned stations along the frontier. Service lasted until late autumn, when the steppes became impassable. This routine would be repeated year in year out, for a man's whole lifetime. As every foreign observer noted with surprise, there could be no question over haggling over the terms and duration of service, or of abrupt departure when the brief period came to an end, as was the rule in feudal Europe: military service was obligatory and permanent, and non-appearance or insubordination were punished with the utmost severity. As Herberstein wrote: 'In war time they do not serve in annual rotation, or by turns, but each and all are compelled ... to go to battle.' And war time was all the time.

    "The permanent army that defended Russia from the Tatars throughout the 16th and 17th centuries was divided into six regiments, and usually consisted of up to 65,000 men. To gain an idea of the colossal effort this entailed, one would do well to compare it with mediaeval European military practice. When in 1467 the German Emperor gathered an army for an all-out offensive against the Turks, drawing upon all the forces of his numerous vassals, he succeeded in mustering 18,500 men. - out of a population considerably larger than that of 16th century Russia. At the battle of Crécy, the King of France (also with a population much larger than Russia's) commanded the most numerous army ever seen in Europe: 12,000 men. And finally, in the greatest combined military effort of the Middle Ages, the First Crusade, which was sustained on a tremendous wave of enthusiasm, the force that passed into Asia Minor numbered not more than 25 - 30,000 men

    "All the examples cited above were but short-lived spurts of energy, that left their begetters exhausted. Russia, on the other hand, had to raise and maintain an armed force, much larger than these European armies in absolute figures and greater still in relation to her resources, not just for an isolated campaign, but for three hundred unbroken years - while at the same time conducting an endless series of wars against more highly developed western neighbours, and also colonizing a country the size of a continent. For above all she needed firm control of the steppes, at whatever price, since without that there could be no national existence."

    However, constant academic references to this open southern border notwithstanding, I have always maintained that there is one section of Russia's immense frontier that does, in fact, present a natural frontier; a section that can be closed and defended with comparative ease; a wall as it were, with a defensible gate: the mountainous frontier that is the North Caucasus.

    When the Roman Emperor Hadrian tired of bands of murderous Picts marauding into the northernmost areas of his imperial province Britannia, he ordered that a defensive wall be built there. The Russian state has no need to build such a wall in order to cordon off that open sore that exists "like a terrible gaping wound" and is the North Caucasus. If I were Russian, I would say to the inhabitants of that region "You want independence? Take it, please!"

    I am not Russian, but I know very many, none of whom being rabid nationalists, who hold the same opinion in this regard as do I.
  5. AlexBond

    AlexBond Office Registrar (13th class)

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    Of course Russia should keep North Caucasus.

    Why Kabardino-Balkaria is on this list? 22.5% of its population are ethnic Russians, which is more than in the neighbouring North Ossetia (which is Orthodox, however). Muslim republics of Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachaevo-Cherkessia, and Orthodox-majority Adygea and North Ossetia all have relatively large numbers of ethnic Russians and are well-integrated and russified - though still relatively poor.
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ru/8/88/Russians_in_Russian_regions_2010.png
    The only problematic places are Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia with fewer than 5% of ethnic Russians.

    Russia actually doesn't spend too much money on the Northern Caucasus. Federal subsidies to the Russian Far East are higher than those to the Northern Caucasus Federal District. Surely this spending is not a reason to kick off either the Caucasus or the Far East. On the other hand, Russia indeed has invested lots of money into North Caucasus - and after all those investments just suddenly stop, kick them off and thus loose all the invested money? No, thanks.

    This is how BBC usually presents it, but it is a bit of exaggeration. While it is true that Chechnya now is very safe and safer than Dagestan and Ingushetia - Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov may take credit for that - both Dagestan and Ingushetia are also surely more safe than they were 10 years ago, and the level of insurgency there has not became even remotely close to that of 1990s Chechnya.

    Partially this is true, but, one one hand, many islamists were killed or forced to emigrate during the last Chechen campaign, and on the other hand, there are many loyal and Russia-patriotic Caucasians as well, especially in Dagestan with its dozens of ethnicities where Russia is seen as the keeper of ethnic peace and stability.

    This seems to be the only real major problem with the North Caucasus in the eyes of Russians. But excluding North Caucasus from Russia hardly could stop Dagestani or Ingush people migrating into Russia. They will migrate as long as the regions remain poor and lacking job places. "Just ban them from immigrating and deport the North Caucasus Muslims currently living in Russia"??? It does not sound realistic both technically and politically. Deporting Russian citizens on the ethnic basis is kind of Nazism/racism. If such kind of move is ever undertaken that would be a major blow to the international image of Russia and to the internal peace and trust between 100+ peoples of Russia.

    Birth rates in Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia are gradually decreasing and it is pretty possible that sometimes they would converge with the increasing birth rates of other Russian regions.

    Yes, Russia should keep North Caucasus.
  6. AlexBond

    AlexBond Office Registrar (13th class)

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    Why Russia should keep North Caucasus.

    1) Caucasus is a natural obstacle and it makes sense to keep the border along this wall, not in the open steppe to the north.

    2) Chechnya already was independent from Russia in 1996-1999 - and it was a period of drug trafficking, kidnappings, terrorism - all spreading into Russia - and attacks of Chechen warlords on the neighbouring Russian regions. To keep peace in the entire South Russia the Caucasus should be controlled.

    3) Excluding any region from the Federation creates a precedent and could cause a chain reaction, resulting in separating of much larger and more resource-rich regions.

    4) North Caucasus and the Caspian contain oil, gas, various minerals and important pipeline routes.

    5) North Caucasus is needed to exert influence over South Caucasus and to prevent the attempts to transport more Azerbaijani and Turkmen gas bypassing Russian territory.

    6) North Caucasus is a perfect natural place for tourism - it is larger and higher than Alps, with relatively nice climate at the foothills. It is the only one such place in Russia (Siberia also has high mountains, but it is much colder there). Russia currently is developing a cluster of ski resorts on the Caucasus and beach resorts in Dagestan.

    http://www.ncrc.ru/en/resort
  7. AKarlin

    AKarlin Generalissimo Staff Member

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    You all make very good points and have covered the issue quite comprehensively, I think.

    (1) They do make a good border BUT... it's not the 16th century now, OTOH.

    (2) They are sinks (and pretty corrupt ones) of federal resources BUT... federal spending per capita on the North Caucasus was three times less than on the Far East, and in total less than what Moscow spends yearly on solving its transport problems.

    (3) Letting them go will create a chain reaction BUT... most likely it won't. Russians are 80% of the population, and as has already been noted, Dagestan, Chechnya, and Ingushetia are the only regions where minorities actually constitute the vast overwhelming bulk (80%+) of the population. It is very hard to imagine this spreading to places like Tatarstan or Buryatia.

    (4) Alex Bond is correct on the demography. With the exception of Chechnya, all the Muslim republics of the NC now have sub-replacement level fertility rates. They have young populations, so their numbers are still growing rapidly (many women of childbearing age + few elderly people), but this is - for obvious reasons - only a temporary state of affairs.

    (5) Going from anecdotes and stereotypes (we have to - there are no official statistics that I am aware of) immigrants from the North Caucasus do indeed have more of a criminal and thuggish element among them than do local Russians, or immigrants from places like Central Asia. This is as to be expected based on everything we know about mountain clan-based cultures. It is bad for national unity and ethnic relations, of course, but probably ameliorable in the long-term as those regions become more connected to the wider world.

    Revolutions and radical decisions (such as tossing away the NC) tend to be very costly, so I think that in general they should only be considered after making sure that the benefits don't just exceed, but vastly exceed, the costs - because of the big risks and uncertainties involved. On the balance of it I don't think it's something worth doing, especially not now after all the resources that have already been committed to it. I don't support keeping hold of people who loathe you and don't want to associate with you, so I would not be averse to the Chechens or Ingush splitting away in a fair referendum in which 66% of the population votes that way. However, if that were to happen, they should be made to understand that Russia has no further obligations to them (e.g. infrastructure projects, pensions payments, etc.) and that they likewise have the obligation to live by international rules (e.g. not becoming a haven for criminals and Islamist terrorists).
    AlexBond likes this.
  8. AlexBond

    AlexBond Office Registrar (13th class)

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    Oh, Anatoly, how could you, a fan of mountain ski, support excluding from Russia half of its best skiing slopes?? :)

    A papakhi would suit your avatar, genazvale! :D:D:D (sorry, couldn't refrain from trolling)

    Seriously speaking, I do not think Chechens or Ingush would vote for independence if a fair referendum is held tomorrow or in the nearby future. Even if many of them might not like Russians, they still realize that while Russia remains strong and could provide security and economic support for their homelands, they better be with Russia than apart. Independence was not a nice experience for ordinary Chechens. Ingushs are even less likely to choose independence - they are even poorer and more dependent on federal investment than Chechnya, and also they are not on a very good terms with Chechens (there have been disputed territories between Chechnya and Ingushetiya) and even in case Chechnya departs from Russia, Ingushs are unlikely to follow the example.
  9. Hero of Crappy Town

    Hero of Crappy Town Collegiate Registrar (14th class)

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    I know of such polls where the Chechens said they were content with the present arrangement and that they do not favor independence over it, but I doubt that is actually true. With polls it is all about how you phrase the question and what exactly the people polled imagined thought they were being asked. For example if upon hearing independence they meant independence accomplished against the objections of Moscow then it is understandable that that is not something they would be for, considering the likely pricetag and the consequences involved, but if the context is instead the situation where Moscow is content to let them go, or even encourages them too then I could easily imagine they grabbing onto that with enthusiasm.
  10. Jussi

    Jussi Dead Soul

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    http://en.rian.ru/russia/20130709/1...ks-Ethnic-Conflict-in-Small-Russian-Town.html

    MOSCOW, July 9 (RIA Novosti) – A deadly street fight in a small town in central Russia has exposed smoldering ethnic tensions, with hundreds of locals shouting for resident Chechens to be evicted, and the government reportedly sending in armored personnel carriers filled with police troops to quell the unrest.
    According to a statement issued on Monday by the regional prosecutor’s office, a 16-year-old ethnic Chechen fatally stabbed a “local man” with a scalpel outside the Golden Barrel restaurant in the early hours of Sunday morning in Pugachyov, whose population is estimated at 40,000.
    The fight was apparently over a girl, a senior investigator told RIA Novosti.
    The suspected killer was detained later Sunday, the same day that residents marched through the streets calling for all ethnic Chechens to be “evicted” from the town, the prosecutor’s statement said. A funeral service for the deceased local, a 20-year-old former paratrooper, also took place on Sunday.
    Russia fought two bloody civil wars in Chechnya in the mid to late 1990s, and many natives of that region fled to other parts of the country. Lingering ethnic tensions, however, occasionally flare up between North Caucasus natives and Slavic Russians.
    Last month, in an incident similar to that in Pugachyov, hundreds of Slavic Russians marched in a “Day of Rage” protest through the provincial town of Udomlya, 350 kilometers (220 miles) northwest of Moscow, after a brawl between locals and out-of-towners apparently from the North Caucasus.
    Sunday’s funeral for the stabbing victim in Pugachyov was notably followed by a mass brawl between locals and ethnic Chechens, as hundreds of angry locals marched to a part of town inhabited by an ethnic Chechen diaspora, regional news site Vzglyad-Info reported.
    Police were unable to stop the fighting, but a number of people were detained afterward, Councilman Denis Maletin said.
    The march continued on Monday, with locals also calling for ethnic Chechens to be cast out of the town, the prosecutor’s statement said, adding that “police officers were maintaining public order.”
    In a report about the incident, Russian news network RBC aired a video of armored personnel carriers rolling through the town. It said 600 locals had joined the march.
    Regional Governor Valery Radayev on Monday warned residents not to resort to “mob rule” in respect to ethnic minorities, according to a statement posted on his administration’s website.
    Stanislav Sidorov, head of the town administration, tried to address the protesters but had to retreat when an empty bottle was hurled at him amid jeering from the crowd.
    Meanwhile, hundreds of locals blocked a federal highway, the regional branch of the press and information ministry said. It later announced that traffic had been restored to normal, without saying how long the blockade had lasted.
    Sergei Arenin, head of the region’s police force, accompanied by Deputy Governor Denis Fadeyev and regional Deputy Prosecutor Timur Maslov, met with the protesters.
    Arenin promised to look into their complaints about “representatives of the Chechen diaspora,” Vzglyad-Info reported. He also warned them against blocking highways and other illegal actions.
    As he spoke, demonstrators began chanting: “Deport them!”
    Local police on Monday denied media reports that armored vehicles were brought into Pugachyov. “The situation is under control,” police said in a statement.
  11. Russian Truth

    Russian Truth Office Registrar (13th class)

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    The riches of Eurasia is why America has its eyes on Russia. The Cold War never ended for men like Zbigniew Brzezinsk. We all know why Georgia is such a pivotal country - Pipelines. America/NATO/Bilderberg types were hoping that control of Georgia could allow them a way to navigate around Russian controlled pipelines.

    http://spanring.eu/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/major-oil-pipeline-projects.png
    A nice map of pipelines. If you want to know why Washington is at war with Moscow just study this map.

    William Engdahl has done some great research on just this topic. Remember, pipelines are as important as the actual gas or oil.
    http://www.oilgeopolitics.net/


    Zbigniew
  12. john smith

    john smith Collegiate Registrar (14th class)

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    Exactly although I would add they what a pan-Turanian empire of countries and separatist states aligned with Turkey and Turkic identity that will transit Caspian oil and gas to Europe.

    Not surprising that the exact same people involved in the Balkans and involved with Russia with members of pro-Chechen lobby ACPC, Turkish lobbies and promoting there interests in the US, oil and gas companies and energy policies in the region.

    Given the Iraq war was heavily promoted and influenced by Israeli firster Neocons I think the Iraq was to secure Israel's long term interests in the region that would give them a huge long term interests and leverage using Kurdish groups to disrupt any western pipelines established from the Caspian that bypass Russia that would need to transit through Iran and Kurdish regions to Turkey and European markets that they could use North Iraq Kurdistan region as a base of operations .

    Here is a good map detailing the ethnic breakdown of Iran.

    [​IMG]
  13. Philip Owen

    Philip Owen Office Registrar (13th class)

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    Acknowledging these arguments, clearly the UK needs to reoccupy the Irish Republic to forestall an invasion by a continental power. And Australia so needs Irian Jaya.

    The North Caucasus nations are victims of colonialism on a greater level than the Baltics. I have recently read a statement by some Russian Patriot that Yeltsin was justified in breaking up the Soviet Union because Gorbachaev was going to break up Russia to keep the USSR in place and Russian rule over the ethnic minorities was clearly a moral imperative. whte man's burden I suppose.

    Russia did not colonize Siberia to stabilize borders. It was the same rush for furs that took the French across North America. The Volga, or the Urals (mountain and river) are fine borders although European Russia is arguably the transport routes offered by its rivers.

    It's difficult to deal with Imperialism until you stop denying it's happening.
  14. Philip Owen

    Philip Owen Office Registrar (13th class)

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    Whoever owns the pipelines, they still have to sell the oil. This is a Patriots' game for idiots stuck in the 19th Century. Rather a lot of them are around. There are too many of them on all sides.
  15. john smith

    john smith Collegiate Registrar (14th class)

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    No foreign power has the ability even if it was geographically possible to use those regions to undermine the security of the countries you mentioned.

    Well the patriot is wrong that I am guessing he shows no actually evidence to support his moronic allegation seeing how Gorbachev was totally in bed with the British and help lay the foundations for mainly British interests post Soviet looting of Russia and the Russian aligned Soviet states including the attempted annexation of the Caucasus.

    The Caucasus since the time of the Greeks have always been a fairly lawless faultline of various states and empires throughout history that prior the Russian control of the region that they allied with various ethnic groups and probably Georgia after the war with Turkey to stop Ottoman advances in the region.

    The North Caucasus has always a major security region for Russia to maintain that various foreign powers throughout history have instigated conflict or tried to get a foothold in the region.
  16. john smith

    john smith Collegiate Registrar (14th class)

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    Oil is something Europe and Asia needs that Europe especially only viable oil and gas supplier is Russia who can provide a large enough amount of gas to meet Europe’s needs.

    I think you are being disingenuous seeing how those who are the forefront of policy making and enacting it against Russia are involved in securing energy corridors and undermining those of Russia, promoting Turkish influence and identity in the Balkans and among the various ethnic groups and regions in Eurasia as well as terrorism/separatist forces in these strategic regions that are vital to Russia and Europe among other things.
  17. Philip Owen

    Philip Owen Office Registrar (13th class)

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    Like who, for example is making and eenacting policy against Russia? The biggest thing to learn from Wikileaks is that the US has no hidden agenda. What the US Diplomatic Corps says in public is the same as they say in private. (Which is actually scary because not too much seems to be known by the diplomats et al about the history, politics and culture of the countries to which they are posted). When they same oblivious to other points of view, they are. They are not pretending.
  18. john smith

    john smith Collegiate Registrar (14th class)

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    Facts say otherwise not least the $3 billion Caucasus investment fund as with most thing Russian established in London in 97 with a number of arrangements meet with the new regime in Chechnya in 97.

    [​IMG]

    George Soros, Zbignew Brzezinski, Lord Jacob Rothschild and the affiliated "Russian" oligarch, USAID, NED, etc and various other individuals and organisations some of which like Brzezinski have been active in US foreign policy regarding Russia and Eastern Europe.

    I don't give much credence to Wikileaks that has not shown us anything of any importance that was not already known and already covered in the press which might be due to the limited access of non-significant diplomatic cables that around 250,000 US personal had access to.
  19. Joshua

    Joshua Collegiate Registrar (14th class)

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    "(4) Alex Bond is correct on the demography. With the exception of Chechnya, all the Muslim republics of the NC now have sub-replacement level fertility rates. They have young populations, so their numbers are still growing rapidly (many women of childbearing age + few elderly people), but this is - for obvious reasons - only a temporary state of affairs."

    I read Ingushetia has a TFR of 2.42(e) for 2012, Chechnya 3.12(e), Dagestan is 2.06 (just below replacement) Kabadino-Balkaria is 1.85 so it is gradually decreasing but i think they should a wall around the chechnya, Ingushetia, North Ossetia, Dagestan, Kabadino-Balkaria
    republics and walls seperating the republics for security purposes and restricting the movements of terrorist groups
  20. MarkPavelovich

    MarkPavelovich Commissar

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    I think Russia must keep the North Caucasus - if for no other reason, as a buffer zone against foreign inveigling. Everyone has seen the eagerness with which the USA seeks to establish a military base in Poland or Georgia, or both, and even without the establishment of a physical military base with all that entails, letting the Caucasus go would not satisfy those hungry for territory - it would merely move the frontier that much further into Russia proper. Nobody is saying there are any easy solutions, but relinquishing land seems never to be a good idea. Georgia remains an excellent example.

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