By Paul Goble
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” (kavpolit.com/articles/pochemu_mitinguet_kavkaz-21185/).
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 (novayagazeta.ru/politics/70646.html and m.gazeta.ru/politics/2015/11/06_a_7876973.shtml).
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 (nadzor26map.ru/iunds/regions/26), 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.