Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 202

By virtue of a decision made by the commander of the group of Russian Interior Ministry (MVD) troops, the administrative regime on the border between Chechnya and Dagestan has been tightened. The action follows the bombing near the border of an automobile containing Russian servicemen, the murder of one Dagestani policeman and kidnapping of eight of his colleagues, and the murders of Gizbula Abdulaev, chief of administration of the Akushinsky district, and his son. (NTV, RTR, October 28)

"The situation is complex. Certain forces, both in Chechnya itself and among the Akkin Chechens [a group of ethnic Chechens] in Dagestan’s Khasavyurt district, are upset about the tightening of the border and are preparing to break through the borders," Rashid Magomedov, Khasavyurt’s chief of police, told the Monitor.

This latest outbreak of tension in Dagestan is hardly a sensation. For over a year reports from the region have been reminiscent of wartime communiques: Russian army transports hitting mines and hostage-takings are reported almost daily. But tightening the border regime is unlikely to stabilize the situation: controls have been tightened before, without discernible results. That is true because, first, it is impossible to cover all of the roads linking Chechnya with Dagestan, and Chechen fighters can infiltrate into Dagestan, bypassing the border posts. Second, regardless of the border regime, the MVD posts are required to check all transportation crossing the border. But this did not prevent Chechen fighters from entering Dagestan and returning safely to Chechnya with their hostages. Moscow’s attempt to stabilize the situation in Dagestan by tightening border controls could, in fact, have the opposite effect; it could provoke fresh violence in Khasavyurt district.

Kulikov Accuses "Wahabi" Field Commander of Kidnappings.