Where Russia Meets China: Part 1 of a 5-part series in
cooperation with Slate.
BY JOSHUA KUCERA | DECEMBER 28, 2009
IRKUTSK, Russia -- When you're the leader of a fringe
political group, a cafe called "I'm Waiting for a UFO" may not be the
best place to take a visiting journalist. But it's possible that alien
abduction is more likely than what Mikheil Kulekhov is working for: Siberian
Kulekhov was the head of the Siberian Liberation Army until
officers from the FSB (the successor to the KGB) contacted him. "They
asked me: 'Why are you calling yourselves an army? Are you going to take up
arms?'" Assured that wasn't the case, the officers asked Kulekhov to
change the organization's name. He did, and it is now the National Alternative
of Siberia. (The two ...
Vienna, December 24 – The Moscow media on Christmas eve are playing up an interview Ramzan Kadyrov gave to Reuters three days ago in which the Chechen president called for Moscow “to liquidate” the threats to Russia that he says Georgia and Ukraine continue pose by “attacking” those countries on all fronts. On Monday, Reuters carried a report on the one-hour-long interview its journalist Michael Stott conducted with Kadyrov (www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5BK2QS20091221). That interview attracted considerable attention in the British media Tuesday and Wednesday, and today it is the focus of articles in Moscow outlets. Kadyrov told Stott that “last year’s attack by US ally Georgia on the pro-Russian rebel region of South Ossetia was part of a Western plot to seize the whole Caucasus region. ‘If they get control of the Caucasus, ...
The August 2008 war between Georgia and Russia
is having and is slated to have profound and long-lasting effects on the
political situation and attitudes in the whole of the Caucasus. One outcome
that is of fundamental importance – and a source of great joy – to the
overwhelming majority of Northwest Caucasians (Circassians=Adiga,
Abkhaz-Abaza=Apswa, and Ubykh=Pakhy) in the Caucasus and diaspora is the
recognition of Abkhazia’s independence by Russia (and a few days later
also by Nicaragua and a number of internationally unrecognized entities). The ancient Abkhaz nation, which
is steeped in tradition and classical history, seems to have taken yet another
big step in the arduous path towards full independence.
The primordial will of a vigorous and lively nation has won yet another battle
in the long ...
Vienna, December 14 – The conviction in Russia’s security agencies that the USSR would never have collapsed if “the Chekists” rather than the Communists had been in power has led many of them to conclude that they can restore much of the Soviet inheritance because “power is in the hands of ‘the Chekists’” rather than in the “imitation CPSU – “United Russia.” But according to Avtandil Tsuladze, a leading expert at Moscow’s Center of Political Conjuncture, that conviction is not only historically incorrect but threatens the country with a collapse analogous to but perhaps even more fateful than the one the Soviet Union suffered nearly two decades ago (www.ej.ru/?a=note&id=9705). In an essay in today’s “Yezhednevny zhurnal,” Tsuladze says that the “Chekists” are convinced that they would never yield power the way Gorbachev ...
Vienna, December 14 – A Kremlin plan to reduce the size of regional parliaments could lead to a new round of instability in non-Russian regions not only by destroying the often carefully worked-out balance of ethnic representation in them but also by causing some politicians forced from office to link up with extra-systemic opponents of Moscow. The dangers of such a step have already been demonstrated in Daghestan, where Vladimir Putin’s decision to eliminate Lebanon-style ethnic quotas in the government and parliament has transformed that hitherto remarkably stable republic into the most violent place in the entire North Caucasus. And today, given the growing tensions in both formally bi-national republics like Karachayevo-Cherkessia and Kabardino-Balkaria and others like Tatarstan, Bashkortostan and the Altai where the ethnic mix of the population is changing, this ...
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