New Attacks on Police in North Caucasus Less about ISIS and More about Protests Against the Kremlin, Analysts Say

Saturday, May 4, 2024

New Attacks on Police in North Caucasus Less about ISIS and More about Protests Against the Kremlin, Analysts Say

Paul Goble

Staunton, Apr. 30 – Many have rushed to follow Moscow’s line and blame the recent attacks on police in the North Caucasus republics on a growth of the influence of Islamist radicalism and especially ISIS there. But two analysts say that in fact such attacks are a protest against Moscow and its policies.

Marat Ilyasov, a North Caucasian specialist now in the US, says that he is convinced that these attacks are in no way connected with the Islamic State. Instead, these attacks are the result of problems in the North Caucasus and Moscow’s failure to address them adequately (

He argues that “radically inclined young people there view the administration, the law enforcement organs, the official imams and leaders of public opinion as representatives of the imperial power in the North Caucasus.” As a result, “precisely these structures will be the target of those unhappy with Moscow’s policies.”

“For example,” Ilyasov continues, “young people see that their fathers and older brothers have been forcibly send to war in Ukraine … and killed. The Kremlin is guilty of doing this, but in the localities, it is represented in the form of the police and officials.” And so these are targets for attack.

But this does not mean that the situation in the North Caucasus is returning to what it was in the 1990s when North Caucasians frequently sought independence. That happened because of the shock of the collapse of the USSR, but at least so far, the war in Ukraine is not likely to bring to the fore similar processes.”

A human rights activist who works in the North Caucasus and who spoke with Kavkazr on condition of anonymity agrees but argues that the longer the war in Ukraine goes on, the more frequent such attacks on police and other officials by young people in the North Caucasus will become.

“Two years of war in Ukraine and the general worsening of the socio-economic situation have intensified radical attitudes among young people,” he says. “In the mentality of Caucasian peoples, dignity is key.” That dignity has been insulted by Moscow, and young people see no other way of responding than to attack the symbols of the regime.

Putin likes to claim that he has restored peace in the North Caucasus, the human rights activist says; but these attacks show that isn’t the case. And as a result, “the republics there can expect a new wave of turbulence that the powers that be there are unlikely to be capable of dealing with.”

Posted by paul goble at 2:55 AM

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