Russia (North Caucasus)


Conflict Summary

Violence persists across the North Caucasus. The official 'end' of the second war in Chechnya in April 2009 failed to prevent an upsurge in attacks in Dagestan and Ingushetia afterwards. The surrounding republics of North Ossetia, Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay-Cherkessia have not been immune. Armed resistance began in Chechnya after the Soviet Union's collapse, with the republic fighting two wars for independence from Moscow in 1994–1996 and from 1999 onwards. Since 2007, Chechnya has become more stable under Kremlin-backed President Ramzan Kadyrov, and active fighting had long ceased by the time Moscow ended its 'counter-terrorism regime' in 2009. But as fighters have fled Kadyrov's crackdown, the insurgency has again spilled over into the neighbouring republics – where political instability, soaring unemployment, rampant corruption, human-rights abuses by the security forces and traditional clan rivalries have fuelled the violence. Initially a secular conflict, the rebellion has taken on an increasingly Islamist nature in this Muslim region. Rebel leader Doku Umarov proclaimed himself the 'emir' of a wished-for Islamic state or 'Caucasus emirate'. In January 2010, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev incorporated six North Caucasus republics into one federal district, and appointed an envoy to oversee it. Despite the government’s best efforts, violence persists in the region, with suicide bombings, targeted killings, and kidnappings remaining a fact of life.