Installment Of Aliyev As Dagestani President Unlikely To Stabilize Republic's Government, Economic Environment, And Insurgent Activity

Executive Summary:

It is unlikely that the installment of Mukhu Aliyev as Dagestan's President will stabilize the republic's government, economy, or alleviate the level of violence of the insurgency. According to the a majority of the population, Aliyev is considered a "massive disappointment". Both local and regional officials and much of the Dagestani population met Aliyev's appointment with high expectations, Aliyev has not successfully responded to the problems plaguing the republic, including the economy, high level of corruption, and has not demonstrated ability to effectively combat of the insurgency. As one of the North Caucasus' most ethnically diverse republics, both local and federal authorities cite ethnic conflicts, along with economics, unemployment, and corruption as some of the driving forces behind the insurgency.


Dagestan is the most ethnically diverse republic in the Russian Confederation, with 32 ethnic groups. Both local and federal authorities claim the insurgency in Dagestan is centered on ethnic, economics more specifically the high rate of unemployment, and corruption in the government. Dagestan's political climate is known for its inter-ethnic party conflicts, where most of the debate is not among political parties, but instead among ethnic groups and clans. Isolation, unpopularity, and corruption of "clan based elites" are likely to lead to continued regional "socio-political and economic crisis" in the North Caucasus and in fact as radicalism and extremist forms of violence continue to grow, there appears a widening "gap between constitutional democratic principles and the processes that are actually occurring". This scenario, of continued political, and socio-economic deterioration, is likely to play out even more strongly due to the large numbers of ethnic groups and the deep division among those groups.
Dagestani President, Mukhu Aliyev

Since the installment in February 2006 of President Mukhu Aliyev, both officials and local authorities argue the change in leadership in Dagestan has not made any significant differences within the republic. Aliyev, officially became president of Dagestan on 20 February 2007. Magomedali Magomedov, Dagestan's president before Aliyev took over, attempted to pressure Putin into appointing one of Magomedov's family members as Dagestani president. However, Aliyev became head of state and Magomedov's son maintains the position of President of the Parliament. Many within the Russian and Dagestani government met Aliyev's appointment as president with optimism, as they hoped Aliyev would crack down on corruption, stimulate the economy, and effectively combat the insurgency. However, Aliyev has not affectively dealt with the major problems within the Dagestani republic . The attorney general, judges, head of the Federal Security Service (FSB) division, and the minister of Internal Affairs are the only appointed by a decree from the president from Moscow. The Parliamentary elections in March 2007 appeared to be largely centered on ethnic issues and not on true political issues . On several cases differences among parties turned into violent confrontations.

Although since the time that Aliyev became installed as Dagestan's president, there has been little to no change in the level of violence from the insurgency. According to Chechnya Weekly article, entitled, "Dagestan: Russia's Eternal Problem" the majority of the Dagestani population considers Aliyev a "massive disappointment". Experts believe Putin's endorsement and support of Aliev as president, likely centers around the fact that the Kremlin believes Aliyev is weak as a politician and allows Moscow to easily control the Dagestani local government. There continues to remain tension between President Aliyev and the minister of Internal Affairs, Adilgirei Magomedtagirovas, as this turbulent relationship points to the problems experienced by Russia's central and regional and local authorities. The current status of Aliyev and Magomedtagirovas is believed to change, likely with Magomedtagirovas' resignation either by December 2007 or before the Russian presidential election in March 2008.

Additional Comments:


Source Reliability: 7.5
Analytical Confidence: 7

Kathryn A. Connelly

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