Tuesday, July 9, 2019
Moscow’s Subventions to North Caucasus May have Bought Off Elites But Haven’t Helped People
Staunton, July 8 – The billions of rubles Moscow sends annually to the North Caucasus may indeed keep local elites loyal but they have not solved the social problems of the region that prompt many North Caucasians to move to Russian cities or be open to the appeals of radicals of one kind or another.
That is the conclusion that springs from an investigation by Vlada Voloshina ofThe Caucasus Post who notes that over the last year, despite the billions Moscow sent to the region, unemployment fell only 0.7 percent and remains the highest in Russia at 10.3 percent (capost.media/special/obzory/pochemu_dotatsii_ne_menyayut_situatsiyu_skfo_bet_rekordy_po_bezrabotitse/).
In the past year, Moscow sent the republics of the North Caucasus Federal District more than a trillion rubles (16 billion US dollars), but unemployment there fell only slightly. Chechnya was given more than 27 billion rubles, Kabardino-Balkaria more than 11, Ingushetia, 9.1 billion, and North Ossetia 8.9 billion. Moreover, all are slated to get more this year.
But the impact on the population was small. If Russia-wide unemployment is approximately 4.5 percent, in Ingushetia, it exceeds 26 percent; in Daghestan, it is 13.7 percent; in Chechnya, 13.6 percent; in Karachayevo-Cherkessia, 12.2 percent; in Kabardino-Balkaria, 10.9 percent; and in North Ossetia, 10.5 percent.
In part, Voloshina says, this reflects the unwillingness of private investors to put money into the troubled region; and in part, it is also a product of statistical difficulties of counting unemployment in a place where many people can subsist on their own land without actually having a formal job.
However, it is overwhelmingly the result of money from Moscow now reaching the population but getting only as far as the national elites. They may indeed stay loyal as long as this money keeps flowing in; but no one can say the same about the populations living under their kleptocratic rule.