Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 170

Russia’s prosecutor general is to ask Russia’s State Duma to strip Nadyr Khachilaev, chairman of the Union of Muslims of Russia, of the immunity from prosecution that he enjoys as a member of the Russian parliament. It is not known what the charges will be, but it seems likely that, like his elder brother Magomed, Nadyr Khachilaev will be charged with organizing the May 21 seizure of the government building in the capital of Dagestan, Makhachkala. Mogomed Khachilaev is already in detention in connection with that incident, though Nadyr Khachilaev told Nezavisimaya gazeta this week that all his brother had done was try to restrain the crowd. An official in the prosecutor general’s office told journalists yesterday that some 190 people are being investigated in connection with the May disturbances. So far, three have been put on trial (Nezavisimaya gazeta, September 15 and 17).

Magomed Khachilaev is the leader of “Kazi-Kumuk,” the national organization of the Laks, the fifth largest indigenous people in Dagestan. On September 15, Kazi-Kumuk declared an indefinite campaign of civil disobedience to protest against the arrest of its leader. Today, the organization said, it would invite the leaders of all Dagestan’s national movements to a round table in Khasavyurt: The meeting would culminate in a protest march from Khasavyurt to Makhachkala to call for Khachilaev’s release from custody.

Dagestan has enormous ethnic diversity, being home to a larger number of ethnic groups than any other region of Russia. Eleven nationalities are officially designated as indigenous to Dagestan and, taken together, “Dagestanis” make up 80 percent of the population of the republic.