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Geopolitical significance of the North Caucasus to the Russian Federation
Material posted: Publication date: 14-11-2014

The Caucasus region is one of the most unstable throughout the history of mankind. Serious economic and social problems creating conditions for the emergence of intractable ethnic and religious conflict. After a relatively quiet Soviet period in the Caucasus again fighting is going on, both between nation States and terrorist organizations and the Federal authorities. In addition, the region has common interests with different poles of influence, in addition to traditional, Russian, which also lead to complications.

The Caucasus mountain range is divided into two parts: North and South. The Northern part is part of the Russian Federation in the North Caucasian Federal district and in the southern part, also called the Caucasus are Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. In addition to these three States there are also unrecognized republics: Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, South Ossetia.

The presence of Russia in the Caucasus was due to a combination of historical, political, and economic factors. The core of the Russian state is located in the centre of the East European plain, which is open to the advance of hostile forces from the South, and from the West and from the East. The only appropriate response to these constant threats was the expansion of Russia. The main geopolitical goal of the state was securing borders to natural boundaries that are easy to defend. In the East this boundary was the Pacific ocean, in Central Asia – the Karakum desert and the Pamir mountains, and directly South of the East European plain, in such a steel barrier of the Caucasus mountains. All these frontiers have become border of the Russian Empire in the XIX century.

Even then Russia had to pay a high price for the integration of the Caucasus. The Caucasian war was more than 50 years, and finally to stop the attacks of the mountaineers was not possible in any of the emperors. In Soviet times under Stalin, the Chechens and several other peoples of the Northern Caucasus were deported to Central Asia, officially because of collaboration with the Nazis. In the ' 90s there were two Chechen campaigns. And today the North Caucasus is the most problematic area within Russian Federation.

The Russian Federation has failed to develop effective policies aimed at long-term development of the region. Unfortunately, a large number of funds allocated for the maintenance and development of the economy, was stolen. The level of unemployment in the republics of the North Caucasus remains the highest in the country. Unresolved economic problems are forcing the locals to migrate to other regions of the Russian Federation and in other countries. Migration within the country is also accompanied by complications of a cultural nature, when recently arrived from the highlands of migrants do not perceive the culture of behavior of people within big cities, which causes a reaction of the indigenous population, which often can be classified as extremism. Among the Russian nationalists had the idea, expressed in the slogan "stop feeding the Caucasus". Like all slogans, this slogan appeals to people's emotions, not to reason. Supporters of this "brilliant idea" the consequences of disconnection are not recognized.

Of course, list all the problems that will arise in the event of secession, it is impossible, but you can specify the main outcomes of this event.

The vacuum is filled quickly in politics. Accordingly, Russia's influence in the region will be leveled and in its place will come the other countries. Special interest in the Caucasus as a whole exhibits a Turkey. In this country among the elite there is some support pan-Turkic project, which aims to unite all States in which the population speaks Turkic languages. This idea many embodiments, the appetites of Turkey are distributed including to the Russian North Caucasus, the Altai and Siberia[1].

Besides Turkey, the North Caucasus has the interests of Saudi Arabia. Spreading Wahhabism, the country is trying to unite the entire Islamic world if not in one state, a close Union, of course, under his leadership. With 90s the exploration of Saudi Arabia is working in this direction and in Russia. A number of terrorist organizations receiving assistance from Riyadh. A large proportion of the population of Dagestan is now professes Wahhabism instead of traditional forms of Islam. The Saudis often try to use it as a lever of pressure on the Russian government. For example, the last visit of the head of Royal intelligence before the Olympics in Sochi was devoted to this issue. Prince Bandar, according to the article the largest of the Lebanese newspaper "As-Safir", promised to reduce the level of funding radical Islamic groups in Russia in exchange for concessions in Syria. According to the same newspaper, President Putin has withstood the pressure and refused[2].

Actually, any regional strategy of Turkey or Saudi Arabia, is likely to be part of a wider plan of action the United States. All movements of separatism inside the Russian Federation perfectly fit in the strategy for the further encirclement of Russia in her ring of unfriendly countries. The need for the implementation of these plans to the US became clear after a partial recovery of the political influence of Russia on post-Soviet space. Perhaps this thought is fully voiced by the head of the American geopolitical Agency "Stratfor": "one gets the impression that the cold war has allowed the Russian question, but it is only an impression. If in the 90-ies of XX century collapsed, the Russian Federation, if it collapsed into many small States, the Russian power would be dissipated like smoke, and with its disappearance disappeared, and the Russian challenge to Europe. If the Americans, the Europeans and the Chinese attacked Russia with a view to its destruction, the Russian question would be solved at last... the actions taken by the United States, inadequate and not focused. In essence, these actions only alarmed the Russians warned them about a huge risk, potentially coming from the USA, and guaranteed response to that threat."

Friedman then offers a plan for the partition of Russia between Poland, Turkey and Japan. If this strategy succeeds, then the center of power, which is Russia in the framework of a multipolar world, will be destroyed. It is likely that the implementation of these plans will begin with the Caucasus.

Thus, it can be argued that the only alternative supplies of the North Caucasus to Russia can only be chaos in this space, the region becomes a base for terrorist organizations, a hotbed of crime. And chaos tends to spread further, so he will also affect other regions of the Russian Federation, governed by ethnic criminal groups, be separatist and extremist sentiments.

So, the North Caucasus must remain Federal district of Russia. But how to deal with destabilizing factors in the region?

Simple recipes in such cases does not happen. The outbreak of conflict nodes requires a combination of measures to stabilize all areas of society.

In the political sphere there is an issue of creating a new local elite thinking within Russia, and not specific national Republic. Also important is the distribution of powers between the Federal center and the republics. In Russia, there are large differences in the level of regions. You can argue long about what is right: asymmetrical or symmetrical type of Federation, but the important thing now is to use the advantages that gives Russia belonging to the asymmetric federations. The Federal center should strengthen control over the North Caucasus. Territorial conflicts inside Russia (like Chechen-Ingush) needs to be urgently solved, but the solutions must be given the status final. Quite painful, but necessary step must be the abandonment of traditional models of the choice of any one of the local clan as a master in the subject. In any case it is impossible to give indefinite power to one person. She corrupts. It should be of interest to the people in a transparent management systems. Again, reluctantly, you should go to the opposition, because competition and accountability to the population is the key to efficiency. Such a system will create a sense of belonging to a common state of Russia. Big role here is to take power structures of Federal importance, which should maintain law and order. The purpose of these structures should be to combat terrorism, the ideology of Wahhabism, corruption, takeovers, etc., to constantly ensure the implementation of the principle of equality of citizens before the law. A large part of extremist groups present themselves as defenders of ordinary people against the impunity of the authorities. It is necessary to deprive terrorists the opportunity to use this argument. To perform law enforcement functions can only be done by the authorities. Unfortunately, they have to take a non-trivial task. In fact, they will not only fight, but also competition from illegal groups in the field of protection of the population. However, other exit no longer exists.

In the economic sphere, Moscow also faces a number of serious problems and also remedy the situation is to refuse to use practices that apply now. Ten years of experience of grants in respect of the North Caucasus gave the wrong result on which counted the authorities. Instead of building a strong economy within the subject, increased dependence on funding from the centre. An example of this situation is the Republic of Ingushetia, the income of which 85% consists of subsidies[3].


Apparently, the Federal centre will have to more closely control the spending of the regions of the North Caucasus. Firstly, the money should be spent on creating jobs. One of the main dilemmas of Russian regions is the inability to simultaneously invest in the development of the economy and maintain social services. The lack of liquidity forces local authorities to invest only in the social sphere, since usually it is agreed with the Federal center. While it turns out that the only way to stop subsidies for the North Caucasus is increased for a short period of time, for the purpose of investments new investments in real production and agriculture. You should also attract private investment, following the example of the Kaluga region, the authorities managed to reindustrializing your region.

In the social sphere it is necessary to pay more attention to education. A decrease in the share of spending on education when writing the state budget had a negative impact on this area. In addition to national consequences, consisting in the reduction of quality of preparation of pupils and students, in the national republics, there was a particular difficulty. Important issue ethnic entities on the territory of the Russian Federation remains the question of language and its teaching. Decreased the number of hours of teaching Russian. It is clear that the consequences of this step will be visible immediately, but they are already easy to predict. Without knowledge of the national language, residents of Northern Caucasus will not be able to be included in national life.

In the field of culture should pay close attention to the loyal support of the Russian clergy, however, the main task is to consider the gradual transformation of the secular republics in the regions in the structure of the secular state. This transformation will cut the ground from under the feet of Islamic fundamentalists in the region. No less important is the struggle in the information environment. Department of state media in the region are tightly controlled by local authorities, which gives rise to two problems: the concealment of information in favor of Republican leadership and lack of flexibility in the coverage of events. If control over traditional sources of information such as Newspapers, radio, TV quite easy to set, on the Internet public media are facing serious competition. By and large, the main regional media are considered Caucasian knot based organization memorial, and the Kavkaz-center, which is almost the official organ of the terrorists. In such conditions it is necessary to work on creation of Patriotic media that will be required to present information in the national context. Of course, such activities are useless, if not will be a real success. First you need to create a positive informational reasons.

North Caucasus region is extremely important for the Russian Federation. Through it, Moscow could project its geopolitical influence in the middle East, serve as an arbiter in conflict resolution in the South Caucasus, influencing the energy policy of the countries of the Caspian sea more effectively to combat terrorism jointly with the CIS countries. However, the retention of this territory is fraught with the greatest difficulties, compared with other territories of the Russian Federation. The question remains whether the Northern Caucasus part of Russia in the future depends on the actions of our leadership now. The situation is gradually is changing for the worse, but the chance to break the trend remains. In the end, Russia has a thousand-year experience of interaction with different peoples and their integration in the General political, economic and cultural space.


Mironov And K.



  4. Kudryavtsev V. A. "Wahhabism": the problem of religious extremism in the Northern Caucasus // Central Asia and the Caucasus. — No. 9. — 2000.
  5. Mikhail Remizov "a Map of ethno-religious threats in the Caucasus and the Volga region"

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