Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 6 Issue: 25

Apparently hoping to take advantage of the Borozdinovskaya situation, Dagestan’s opposition plans to hold a protest rally in Makhachkala on July 5. Nezavisimaya gazeta on June 27 quoted Khadzhimurad Kamalov, chief editor of the Dagestani newspaper Chernovik, as saying that the Borozdinovskaya refugees and their supporters among the ethnic Avars of Dagestan trust neither the assurances of the Chechen Government nor those of the Dagestani commission that has been established to deal with the crisis. “They have empowered Dagestani People’s Assembly Deputy Saygid Murtazaliev, an opposition leader, to conduct talks with all representatives of the authorities in the belief that he can secure guarantees of safety for the residents of Borozdinovskaya and will be a moderator in the negotiating process,” Kamalov said. According to Nezavisimaya gazeta, Murtazaliev, who is the informal leader of the so-called Northern Alliance, the group opposing incumbent Dagestani leader Magomedali Magomedov which also includes Khasavyurt Mayor Saigidpasha Umakhanov, already has specific proposals for resolving the crisis. “It is a question of altering the administrative border between Chechnya and Dagestan,” Kamalov said. “There is a possibility of exchanging two villages and moving a checkpoint.”

Meanwhile, Dagestan continues to be plagued by terrorist violence. On June 25, a cargo train was derailed by a bomb that had been placed on the tracks near the Khasavyurt district village of Sadovoe, RIA Novosti reported. The blast wounded the train’s driver and his assistant. Another explosion took place later that day, at a boarding school-hostel in the town of Khasavuyrt. No one was hurt in the blast. The third attack of that day took place in the settlement of Stepnoi, near Makhachkala: one explosive device went off as a police car drove by, wounding two police officers, and when another police car arrived at the scene some fifteen minutes later, a second blast occurred, wounding four policemen. Nezavisimaya gazeta on June 27 noted that the apparent synchronization of the explosions in different parts of Dagestan speaks to the “good organization and consistency of the terrorists. The fact that the terrorists are succeeding in purposeful terrorist acts against police personnel testifies to their being well informed about the routes and schedules of transportation for personnel of the law-enforcement organs. In that regard, sources in the Dagestani police note that some time ago, militants who were killed in an encounter with the forces of law and order were found to have a list of high-ranking Interior Ministry officers with their addresses, which forces one to think of the possibility of treason in the ranks of the police.”

The federal government’s Rossiiskaya gazeta newspaper provided a sober assessment of the situation in Dagestan in its June 28 edition. “Today’s Dagestan has two different misfortunes in full view – high unemployment and total corruption,” wrote correspondent Timofei Borisov. “Money here decides practically any appointment to any position. Even to get into the army, it is necessary to pay, because there are many who want to become contract soldiers and few vacancies. Against the backdrop of these and other problems, the strong pressure of religious extremism is making itself felt…Religious extremists have clearly counted on [the possibility] that their forces may now be called for in the internecine struggle of the clans for power.”