Policy Memos

The Changing Context of Russian Federal Policy in the North Caucasus

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A year ago, the prospects for stability in the North Caucasus appeared dim at best. Violent clashes, bombings, and terrorist attacks in Chechnya remained common and continued to produce bloodshed, misery, and destruction. Even more troubling was the accelerated spread of extremist violence and sociopolitical instability from Chechnya into neighboring Dagestan and Ingushetia, where bombings, assassinations, and other terrorist attacks became a daily occurrence. Coordinated attacks by young rebels on police stations and other official sites in Nalchik, the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria, in October 2005 – attacks that left more than 140 people dead – caused many observers to fear that a growing wave of instability in the North Caucasus would spin out of control. Some even worried that violence in the North Caucasus would ignite upheavals elsewhere in the Russian Federation. [...]

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About the author

Director, Cold War Studies Program, and Senior Fellow, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies
Harvard University