Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 7 Issue: 46

A World Bank study released on November 29 concluded that a rise in the number of young people coupled with a lack of opportunity in the North Caucasus could impede long-term economic development and threaten stability in the region. The Moscow Times on November 30 quoted one of the authors of the 88-page study, entitled “Youth in the Northern Caucasus: From Risk to Opportunity,” as warning authorities to take action in the region now or face “a whole lost generation.” “There is a risk that untapped entrepreneurial resources of the local youth can eventually find their way into activities that are detrimental to the security in the region,” La Cava told the English-language newspaper.

The report’s authors, who interviewed hundreds of youth in the region, found that the bribes that many high schools and higher-education institutes in the North Caucasus expect from students make education prohibitively expensive. According to the report, the amount of the bribe required to pass a high school or university exam in Dagestan runs from $70 to $175, and can reach as high as $1,000 for a prestigious law school. The Moscow Times quoted Abduragim Sagidov, a 13-year-old Dagestani student, as saying that he wants to study the oil and gas business at a university and then move to Siberia to work for an energy company, but that he doubts he will be able to afford it. “I don’t know anyone around me who hasn’t bribed his way into or through a university,” Sagidov said.

Meanwhile, Kavkazky Uzel on November 22 quoted the Karachaevo-Cherkessia’s Interior Ministry as saying that 23 criminal cases have been brought against police officers in the republic this year. According to the ministry, the most “scandalous” cases concerned police officers involved in “illegal armed formations” and weapons trafficking. One suspected police officer had received training in a rebel camp in Chechnya.

According Kavkazky Uzel, the authorities in Karachaevo-Cherkessia uncovered not only cases of policemen taking bribes and abusing power, but also cases of police officers who were involved in thefts and home burglaries.