North Caucasians Have More To Protest About Than Nationality Or Islam – OpEd


Most observers focus on ethnic and religious issues as the drivers of protest in the North Caucasus, but in fact, North Caucasians have in addition to these concerns many other reasons to protest, some of which are typical of Russia as a whole and others regionally specific, according to Anton Chablin.

According to the journalist, the main sources of anger among the population in the region are violations of election laws, corruption, disruptions in urban life, and violations of labor and other social rights. And again coming up fast is the problem of “deceived debtors” (

Chablin draws his conclusions for the North Caucasus on the basis of a new report released by Aleksey Kudrin’s Committee of Civic Initiatives which studied protest potential of various regions throughout the Russian Federation during the first half of 2015 ( and

Each region was assessed, Chablin notes, according to the socio-economic well-being of its population, the internal political situation, the level of federal interference, and finally protest actions during that period. And he says that he wants to focus on the latter, given that over the last year protest activity has risen 15 percent in the country.

The Kavkazskaya politika journalist says that the Kudrin report concludes that in the North Caucasus, two places displayed the greatest protest activity during this period on the issues listed above – Daghestan and Rostov – two showed among the least – Ingushetia and Kalmykia – and the rest were in between.

In his article, Chablin provides details on one issue – anger among the population about the growing number of cases in which builders have engaged in deceptive practices, a problem that Aleksandr Khinshteyn said a working group in United Russia was examining what to do in order to rein in this problem.

The journalist even provides a link of a new interactive map showing where there are cases of this problem throughout Stavropol kray (, yet another indication of how widespread this problem is, how angry the population is about it, and how the authorities are trying to do something before protests break out.

Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

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