Steady, Low Level Insurgent Attacks Likely To Continue And Spread Westward Toward Ingushetia And Kabardino-Balkaria Over The Next Twelve Months

Executive Summary:

Based on a quantitative and geographic analysis of insurgent attacks over the last year, it is likely that the insurgency in the North Caucasus is active, and will maintain its current level of operations in Chechnya and Dagestan while continuing to shift and increase operations westward over the next 12 months towards Ingushetia and Kabardino-Balkaria. It is also likely that government officials and Russian security forces within each republic will remain ineffective in combating the known insurgency strategies and socio-economic problems.

Severity and Effectiveness: Through the quantitative and geographic analysis of the insurgent attacks from September 2006 through September 2007, it is likely that attacks will continue to move westward across the North Caucasus with a continued increase in low level conflicts primarily targeting Russian and republic security forces due to the development of hotspot trends in Ingushetia and Kabardino-Total_Attacks_Casualties.JPGBalkaria, and the high frequency of casualties by servicemen over the last 4 months. The number of attacks in the North Caucasus in September 2007 is 56 percent higher than the number of attacks a year earlier in September 2006. Over that time period of 13 months, 40 percent of all attacks occurred in Chechnya while Ingushetia accounted for 33 percent. However in August and September of 2007, the number of attacks in Ingushetia is 58 percent larger than the number of attacks in Chechnya. A recent surge of insurgent activity in the republic of Kabardino-Balkaria coupled with rising violence in Ingushetia points to a geographic shift of violence westward from Chechnya. The average number of casualties per violent incident in the North Caucasus over the past 13 months is 2.12. Thus, low casualty frequencies coupled with a 93 percent increase in shootings from September 2006 to September 2007 shows a distinct trend towards steady, low-level conflict. Security forces and government officials are the primary targets of this increase in violence, with these two groups consisting of 73 percent of casualties over the past 13 months. However, after adding September 2007 to October 2007 and analyzing these two months with September and October 2006 to show a comparative analysis of the attacks the recent surge of insurgent activity in the republic of Kabardino-Balkaria coupled with rising violence in Ingushetia and Dagestan likely points to the geographic shift of the center of violence externally from Chechnya to a new focal point in Ingushetia.

  • Insurgency: The underlying ideological goal of the insurgents within the North Caucasian region is to gain autonomy from Russian rule through the practice of the Islamic faith which plays a critical role in the organization and command structure of the insurgency. However, despite the decentralization of power within the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria resistance network to regional leaders in the North Caucasus, it is likely that insurgent activity in Ingushetia and Kabardino-Balkaria will continue to increase over the next twelve months due to the ineffectiveness of government and Russian security forces to combat the situation. While insurgent activities are increasing in Ingushetia and Kabardino-Balkaria, it is likely that insurgents in Chechnya and Dagestan will continue their operations through the 2008 president elections due to a steady rate of violent attacks over the last twelve months and the inability of government and Russian security forces to effectively implement the necessary strategies to combat the active insurgencies in their republics.

  • Socio-Economic: Low economic standards throughout the North Caucasus region are likely to increase insurgent activity mainly fueled by Islamic teachings. Thus, Muslims turn to the Islamic faith in an attempt to combat the corruption and poor economic standards of the region. High unemployment rates in Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, and Kabardino-Balkaria are likely to continue over the next six to twelve months due to the local governments’ failure to promote economic growth and expand opportunities to improve the lives of the people living in the North Caucasus republics. For example, Ramzan Kadryov’s, Chechnya’s president, inability to create jobs for the Chechens is likely to create a safe haven for the recruitment of despot citizens to join the insurgency. While at the same time, Kadyrov voiced his desire to combine Ingushetia and Chechnya as one single, unified republic. However, as increasing insurgency related violence continues to plague Ingushetia, it is likely that Kadyrov sees the deteriorating situation in Ingushetia as an opportunity to expand his control over the region.

Russian Capabilities and Effectiveness: Despite knowing the insurgents strategies and tactics, it is likely that Russian and republic security forces will continue to ineffectively combat the insurgency over the next twelve months due to the failure of current counterinsurgency tactics to prevent the increase, expansion, and spread of violent insurgent attacks. The culmination of major combat operations of the second Chechen war eliminated key insurgent leadership groups and reduced the violence in the North Caucasus to primarily low level attacks such as shootings and ambushes. However, counterterrorism efforts by Russian security forces did not stop the insurgency, and only moved the center of violence west of Chechnya to the republic of Ingushetia. While large scale attacks are currently less prevalent in the North Caucasus, ineffective counterterrorism techniques contributed to the actual number of attacks growing over the past 12 months. Increased troop presence in Ingushetia in September 2007 only increased the targeting of Russian security forces within the republic, and proved ineffective in curtailing the growing violence in the North Caucasus.

Kremlin Ability To Control: The insurgency that originally began in Chechnya is now damaging the overall political systems of Ramzan Kadyrov in Chechnya, Arsen Kanokov in Kabardino-Balkaria, Mukhu Aliyev in Dagestan, and Murat Zyazikov in Ingushetia. Despite an end to Vladimir Putin’s reign as president in Russia, it is highly likely that Kadyrov will retain the Kremlin’s support over the next six months due to Putin remaining in a position of power by becoming the leading candidate for the dominant political party, United Russia, upon stepping down from the presidency. As a result of the increasing affect of the insurgency on the political systems through its spread westward towards Ingushetia and Kabardino-Balkaria, it is highly likely that the political systems in these republics will continue to fail and lose support in the next 12 months due to the ineffective tactics and actions of Russian security forces, and a lack of feasible future strategies to curtail widespread socio-economic problems.

Survivability Of The Kadyrov Regime: Despite the upcoming 2008 Russian presidential election in March that will end Vladimir Putin’s reign as president, it is highly likely that Ramzan Kadyrov retains the Kremlin’s support due to Putin remaining in a position of power by becoming the leading candidate for the dominant political party, United Russia. Kadyrov accepted the presidency for the Russian Republic of Chechnya on 5 May 2007, with full support from the Kremlin and Putin. Prior to receiving the presidential nomination, however, Kadyrov aligned his political goals with those of the Kremlin by dismissing a power-sharing treaty between Grozny and Moscow that undermined the concept of Russian statehood.

Additional Comments:


Source Reliability: 7
Analytic Confidence: 7

Authors: Christopher Anderson I Kathryn Connelly I Matthew Gurto I Robert Williams

Republics: Chechnya I Dagestan I Ingushetia I Kabardino-Balkaria

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