Rogozin advances on the Caucasus

The third Global Political Forum which Russia sees as a major event to discuss innovative ideas took place in the city of Yaroslavl in early September.



According to experts, the main beneficiary of this forum appeared to be former Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to NATO Dmitry Rogozin, who with sensational statements in his report at the Yaroslavl forum celebrated his return to internal politics of Russia.
Dmitry Rogozin who used to represent very actively the position of Moscow in the North Atlantic alliance emphasized focus of his future political course with his ambitious statements.


Sergey Markedonov of the Center for Strategic and International Studies of the US analyzed and highly criticized proposals that were put forward by Rogozin.
According to Markedonov, Rogozin's propositions pose a serious challenge and one thing that should be paid attention is that no one opposes him.


It was expected that in Yaroslavl Rogozin would talk about the relationship between NATO and Russia, but he chose "national question in modern Russia and Europe" as a subject of his report in which he considered national situation in Russia from distinctive and quite risky positions and called the North Caucasus main cause of the existing problems.


He believes that the Russian people in today 's Russia is in the role of "discriminated majority" and the main line of tensions runs through the conflict that exists between Russia and the republics of Northern Caucasus. The situation can only be rectified by restoring equality of all ethnic communities living in Russia.


According to the Rogozin's theory, the Russian people in its essence are bearers of modernization and modern political culture in the broadest sense of the word. Whereas the peripheral regions, and especially the North Caucasus, aspire to archaism and social backwardness. A hard and unambiguous conclusion can be drawn from this: either the periphery subdues the centre and barbarizes it or the centre modernizes the periphery.


To prevent development of alleged negative scenario, Rogozin talked about the need to restore not just formal but real control over the North Caucasus and to prevent violations of Russian cultural standard on the part of various ethnic representatives of this region. He also raised an issue of migration people from the North Caucasus, which was recognized as inadmissible, containing a great danger for Russia.


Markedonov agrees with Rogozin that the North Caucasus with problems there is a major headache for Russia. But he also indicates that many of Rogozin's points are based on wrong assumptions and their further development in this direction would create a danger to a united Russian state. First of all opposing "archaic" North Caucasus and "progressive centre" poses a danger.
- North Caucasus indeed has historical and later acquired characteristics. But it is a part of the single Russian space and attempts of treatment of its individual parts without social and economic recovery of the entire body is a utopian and unproductive task - concludes


In the nineties North Caucasians were accused that they were choosing wrong leaders and were building ethnocratic models. Since 2004, all leaders of the North Caucasus are chosen, appointed and dismissed by the Kremlin. Local interior ministries, security service and prosecutor's offices report directly to the centre. "Clan relations" and "traditionalism" of North Caucasus is exaggerated. Corruption and cronyism flourish equally in both "progressive Moscow" and " backward Dagestan".


In contrast to Rogozin Markedonov believes that the reason for today's conflict in the North Caucasus, radical Islam or ethnic nationalism are caused not by abstract "traditions" and "cultural codes" but urbanization and transformation of the market economy with characteristic of this process social costs.


Sergey Markedonov believes that division of society on the Russian and non-Russians is a rough and dangerous mistake since they all are citizens of one country and such division and opposition of the population plays into the hands of opponents of the Russian state.
In his view, it would be wrong to turn a blind eye to a very broad palette of conflicts in the North Caucasus such as the land problem between Kabardians and Balkars, the question of representation in the power structures of the republic between Circassians and the Karachay, long-standing Ossetian-Ingush conflict, border and administrative dispute between Chechens and the Ingush, complex relationship between Turkmens and Nogais in the Stavropol Krai, unsolved problems in multi-ethnic Dagestan, etc.


He suggests that the points proposed by Rogozin reflect interests of a certain part of the Russian leadership that wants to distract public attention from the struggle for civil rights and switch it on other issues, that is like a call to put out the fire of non-Russian ethnocracy with gasoline of Russian ethnocracy.


According to Markedonov, Rogozin often refers to a factor of the collapse of the Soviet Union and its consequences, but forgets that the most important and decisive in this process was not Ukrainian or Georgian separatism, but the question of self-determination in Russia. Attempts to regulate the processes with internal migration from the North Caucasus are fraught with the same consequences for the unity of today's Russia.

If counter arguments are not offered to the erroneous and dangerous theses of Rogozin that the latter imposes on the society using his oratorical skill and polemical talent, his apartheid theory will spread and have damaging consequences - Markedonov concludes.


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