The authorities in Russia’s North Caucasus Republic of Dagestan have reached an agreement, at least for now, with the inhabitants of two remote mountain villages that last month declared themselves to be an independent Islamic territory. (Russian agencies, September 2) The villagers complained that the republic authorities were preventing them from practicing their Islamic religion. The situation provoked especial alarm because of media reports that they were also calling for the creation of an independent Islamic republic comprising Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachaevo-Cherkessia. There were fears that Chechen militants might cross the border to come to the aid of the villagers.
The acting head of Dagestan’s Security Council, Magomed-Salikh Gusaev, told a press conference yesterday that the two villages, Karamakhi and Chabanmakhi, had agreed “to renounce anticonstitutional actions and recognize local government bodies and other constitutional authorities” in the republic. In return, the Dagestani authorities promised to take no reprisals against the villages and confirmed their constitutional right to practice their religion. The Dagestani government promised not to use the term “Wahhabism” in official statements and said that the Dagestani parliament would examine the villagers’ complaints that republic legislation on religion tramples on constitutionally guaranteed religious freedoms.
KUCHMA’S FOES PONDER IMPEACHMENT TO HALT REFORMS.