NOVOSELSKOE VIOLENCE: PROPERTY BRAWL OR INTER-ETHNIC BATTLE?
Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 6 Issue: 31
A mass brawl took place on August 6 in the village of Novoselskoe in Dagestan’s Khasavyurt district between a group of young people from the village and another group of young people from the nearby village of Moksob. According to various reports, anywhere from six to more than 20 people were hospitalized with injuries sustained from the fight. Seven people were arrested in the incident. The Regnum news agency reported that according to one version of events, the brawl was the result of disputes over land plots. The agency noted, however, that a majority of residents of Novoselskoe are Chechens while a majority of Moksob’s residents are Avars, and that the violence may have been sparked by an argument over the raid in Borozdinovskaya in early June.
Dagestani deputy minister for national policy, information and external relations, Zikrulla Ilyasov, denied that ethnic hostilities played any role in brawl, Kommersant reported on August 10. Chechen officials, however, took a different view. On August 9, Chechnya’s State Council issued a statement expressing “deep concern” over the incident, Interfax reported. “In spite of a statement by the Dagestani Interior Ministry that the incident was of a domestic nature, we are worried by the fact that the parties to the conflict were divided along ethnic lines,” the council stated, adding that it was possible that “the actions of the instigators were of a provocative nature and were designed to destabilize the situation in the region.” According to Interfax, Chechen State Council Chairman Taus Dzhabrailov on August 8 expressed concern at a possible worsening of inter-ethnic relations in a number of villages in Dagestan. Novoselskoe, he said, was founded by Chechen-Aukhovtsy, several thousand of whom have lived there “since time immemorial.” “These people didn’t arrive there from anywhere, they are indigenous to these areas and found themselves on the administrative territory of Dagestan when the Chechens were deported to Siberia in 1944, and after their return, the administrative border had already been drawn, placing these villages inside Dagestan,” Dzhabrailov said.
Meanwhile, fresh bombing attacks in Dagestan targeted various infrastructure and businesses. A bomb went off at an electric power sub-station on the outskirts of the village of Mogilyovskoe in the Khasavyurt district on August 4. The facility was damaged but no one was injured. A bomb exploded in a building belonging to a transportation firm in Makhachkala on August 3, wounding an employee and a policeman, RIA Novosti reported. That same day, an explosive device consisting of a hand-grenade and a timer was discovered at the Mozdok-Kazimagomed gas main outside Makhachkala and defused, Itar-Tass reported.