The Committee Kudrin called Moscow’s policy a hindrance to the modernization of the Caucasus


The Committee of civil initiatives (CGI), former Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Kudrin on Friday, 1 April, will report on the development of democratic institutions in the republics of the North Caucasus. The report was prepared by the specialists of the Institute of economic policy of a name of Egor Gaydar Irina Starodubrovskaya and Konstantin Kazenin. They set the task to find out whether the North Caucasian Republic to move towards the rule of law, competition policy, transparent “rules of the game” in the economy and develop non-violent ways of conflict resolution. The report is based on field research conducted by the authors in 2015, in Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachay-Cherkessia.

A closed political system

Experts state that although clan ties became widespread throughout the country, in the North Caucasus they still retain a more traditional nature: the relations of kinship and community play a greater role than relationship loyalty. Thus the system is even more closed than in the rest of Russia, the authors of the report.

This is largely due to the fact, experts argue that in the pre-revolutionary period, the influence of modernisation trends in the Caucasus was extremely limited. And with the fact that the Soviet modernization came not to all the territories, and wherever got, is not always required serious undermining of the existing model.

The closed nature of the North Caucasian political and social system is also linked to the limited role played by large cities in the region — the only really large city in the North Caucasian republics is the city of Makhachkala. Due to its size and the diversity of needs of a big city inevitably undermine clientelism (the relationship people built on ties and mutual services) and liberate the access to certain areas.

Cronyism is preventing progress

The clan system, which distinguishes the political system and elites severokavkazskiy republics, the authors of the report analysed separately. Severokavkazskaya the clan system is inherently dissimilar to the cronyism that occurs in other regions of the country, experts say.

Clans in the North Caucasus have a rigid hierarchical organization, including leader and his “inner circle” and controlled by members of the “inner circle” of officials, law enforcement officers, entrepreneurs. The main factor determining the position in the hierarchy, are the personal connections with those who occupies the highest position.

In the “middle range” of the leader of the clan can be quite a lot of his relatives, therefore, the more “related” on the composition of its leadership is “clan”, the less opportunities for “career lifts” inside it there is for people, not part of a sister circle leader, the report said.

The position of the head of the clan in the North Caucasus is more important than any “formal” position. If the clan leader lost his position, he continues to control not only significant assets but also, for example, able to influence the formation of local self-government and appointments in the Republican government.

The new clan structures is blocked existing clans that do not wish to have competitors, the report said. New informal groups, operating on the principle clans, in practice, can only create new regional leaders — but they don’t always.

This situation makes it impossible for a complete change of elites in the republics of the North Caucasus, in this system there is no place for “career lifts” for those who are not affiliated with any of the existing clans in the region, make the findings of the report.

Hierarchy and Islamization

Archaic North Caucasian society is manifested in the fact that the region has preserved a different sort of social hierarchy, say the experts. There is, for example, generational hierarchy, when young and even not so young people are controlled by the elders, to defend his point of view even in those conditions in which the correctness is obvious. And there are gender hierarchies, and even gender division of labour. Girls have less access to education, fewer opportunities of choosing a life strategy, fewer opportunities to protect their rights, according to experts. Their place is limited primarily by the house and the children. Thus in the North Caucasus, extended family violence, including still happen “honour killings”, when “disgracing family honour” the girl may kill the father or older brothers. In this area, evident regress even in comparison with Soviet times, say the authors of the report.

A distinctive feature of the Northern Caucasus, the authors argue, is the proliferation of open violent practices of both the elite and counter elite. For some North Caucasian regions are characterized by less than in the whole of Russia, state control over elite groups with their own violent potential. Protests also characterized by a higher level of violence than in the whole country.

Another fundamental aspect of the social order of the North Caucasian republics — is the dominance of Islamic ideology as a basis of social protest. The religious nature of the protest ideology in the North Caucasus imposes a significant imprint on the system of ideas about the desirable state device, about the organization of society and social ideal in which life improved for the better. This North Caucasus Republic are very different from the rest regions of Russia, where protest sentiments are mainly associated with liberal or nationalistic ideas, according to the report.

However, the experts are agreed, there is nothing more erroneous than to consider the relationship as stable and capable of transformation. The erosion and breakdown of the traditional relations — the most striking feature of what is happening in the North Caucasus in post-Soviet times.

Stereotypes Of Moscow

In the North Caucasus, a group critical of the present system of organization of government and society and even interested in social modernization, found the report. These include not associated with clans a small circles and to a greater extent medium business, some leaders of local self-government at the level of settlements, representatives of liberal professions (lawyers, journalists, social activists), etc. But the problem is that these community groups that would modernize the North Caucasian way of life, Islamized within, experts believe. Their understanding of the ways changes in society are influenced by Islamic (primarily fundamentalist) ideology.

Typical of Federal government representation about the absence in the North Caucasus internal driving force of economic and social modernization, inhibit the development of modern political and social institutions, are given to understand by the experts. Because of the stereotypes of Federal officials based in the North Caucasus the traditional clans and are trying to modernise the political system from the “outside”. All this reinforces the archaic in the region, antimodernization patterns and in many cases do the Federal government hostage to their interests.

In the office of the presidential envoy in the North Caucasian Federal district was advised to pay for the comment to the Deputy Commissioner, “which supervises questions of interaction with mass media”. Telephone Deputy Commissioner, whose name in the device are not called, at the time of this writing, no one answered.