Extensive and informative analysis of the situation in North Caucasus by the Caucasian Knot editor Grigory Shvedov. What worries me most, he restates this widely assumed idea, that Kremlin is probably preparing some kind of nasty crisis for its own purposes.
“Today a war is taking place in Ingushetia. I use the term “war” because the attacks that take place there are of a larger scale than the attacks, for example, in Iraq. Regular attacks started in August 2007, but they increased in the month of September. The reduced level of incidents during winter time is typical for the Northern Caucasus. It is not only the Russian bear that sleeps during the winter time – mountains are hard for anyone during this unaccommodating period. ”
Q: What do you think about the theory that Moscow is instigating the conflict?
G.S.: “Ironically, it was August of 1999 when conflict started in Dagestan and it was August of 2007 when the conflict really escalated in Ingushetia. I don’t think that the current situation in Ingushetia is a result of some long term strategy, because as far as I can tell, there are no long term strategies for this area. However, there are strong ethnic conflicts developing, the likes of which we have not seen before. I attribute this to the growing government incompetence in dealing with the region, particularly in the area of economic development.
That said, let’s compare the current situation to Dagestan in 1999. What we saw in Dagestan was clearly a set up of a counterterrorist operation. Although what is going on in Ingushetia is not that clear, one cannot exclude the possibility that it is simply a case of federal center preparing the ground for a potential war. A crisis of this sort might come in handy in case there is a need to bring Putin back on the political scene, or change Medvedev or some other bureaucrat from the “siloviki” camp. In order to be able to organize a crisis situation in a short period of time, one must do the necessary preparations. A dry peat bog easily starts a big fire in the forest.”