Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 6 Issue: 27

Against this backdrop, it is no surprise that the situation in Dagestan is becoming a focus of attention in Russia’s parliament. Gennady Gudkov, a member of the State Duma Security Committee and the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, said the government should send a commission to Dagestan and possibly “announce presidential rule” over the republic. The worsening situation in the republic, he said, was due to the “stagnation” of its authorities and “extensive corruption and embezzlement,” Interfax reported on July 7. Independent State Duma Deputy Vladimir Ryzhkov called Dagestan “the most explosive spot” in the country.

On July 12, a Federation Council ad hoc commission on the situation in the North Caucasus discussed the situation in Dagestan. RIA Novosti quoted Musa Umarov, a commission member who represents the Chechen State Council in the Federation Council, as saying that “consistent and thorough educational and explanatory work” is needed to resolve the problems in Dagestan. He added that the situation in Dagestan and the North Caucasus as a whole “is not easy and requires delicate handling” and that unemployment ‘is the reason for what is happening in the republic.” Viktor Ozerov, the chairman of the Federation Council’s defense and security committee, said that the Russian Interior Ministry “believes the situation in Dagestan is tense” and that the number of police in the republic should be increased, better equipped and be entitled to improved welfare benefits. “But we believe that to improve the situation in the republic, there is a need not just for better policing but also for social and economic measures,” Ozerov said. He added that Dagestan’s crisis was largely due to economic problems, noting that while the average monthly wage in Russia is 6,600 rubles (about $230) and 4,400 rubles (about $153) in the Southern Federal District, it is only 2,900 rubles (about $101) in Dagestan.

Meanwhile, Dmitry Kozak said on July 8 that Moscow would not introduce direct presidential rule in Dagestan, Gazeta reported. According to the newspaper, the presidential envoy told a conference of regional leaders from the Southern Federal District held in Nalchik, Kabardino-Balkaria, that Moscow would help Dagestan’s law-enforcement agencies fight terrorism.