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31 January 2019, 14:38

Rights defenders report threat of armed underground's activation in Chechnya

Participants of a roundtable on the factors radicalizing residents of Northern Caucasus believe an increase in the number of armed incidents in Chechnya results from the authorities' repressive policy and formal approach to the prevention of extremism.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on January 30, the Conflict Analysis and Prevention Centre released a report on the causes and factors radicalizing residents of Northern Caucasus.

On January 30, the press centre of the newspaper "Novaya Gazeta" hosted the expert roundtable devoted to the release of the report.

The authorities of the North-Caucasian republics show formal approach to the problems of countering radicalization and that is especially noticeable in the example of Chechnya. This opinion was voiced during the roundtable by Ekaterina Sokiryanskaya, Director of the Conflict Analysis and Prevention Centre.

"[The approach] is being criticized for its strong politicization, straightforwardness, formality, complete lack of creativity, and periodic focus on intimidation. Much attention is being paid to praising Ramzan Kadyrov and attempts to intimidate young people and take control over them," notes the rights defender.

According to Ekaterina Sokiryanskaya, the neighbouring republics, including Dagestan, Ingushetia, and Kabardino-Balkaria, carry out more flexible and less politicized official explanatory activities.

Oleg Orlov, the head of the programme "Hot Spots" of the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial", also notes the effectiveness of the Ingush model to combat terrorism, which has been practiced in the republic since 2009 and led to clear results. "The model involves creation of a number of institutions designed to adapt militants who decide to lay down their arms. It [includes] interaction with militants' relatives and provides the opportunity to legally adhere to, so to say, the non-traditional direction [of religious beliefs]. The people can openly profess Salafism and will not be persecuted for that. We see the result: in 2008, Ingushetia ranked first in terms of the number of terror acts and victims, and now it has become the most stable republic," stated Oleg Orlov.

On the contrary, the situation in Chechnya is worsening: the totalitarian regime and the suppression of any dissent contribute to radicalization, notes the rights defender. "Young people take arms, for example, knives and axes, and commit suicide attacks with killings of a certain number of law enforcers or civilians. People can express their dissatisfaction in Ingushetia, but not in Chechnya, so young people chooses extremism as the only possibility of protest in the republic," said Oleg Orlov.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on January 31, 2019 at 02:26 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Gor Aleksanyan; Source: CK correspondent

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