01/05/2022, 09.07
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Winds of civil war sweep the Russian Caucasus

by Vladimir Rozanskij

A Chechen officer's Instagram posts recall the days when his people "exterminated" Russian federals. Chechnya is already a "state within a state." Tatar and Ingush opposition to Putin's patriotic centralism. Stabilization of the Ukrainian front needed to contain internal threats.



Moscow (AsiaNews) - In a period already crossed by many social and political tensions in the North Caucasus, Instagram posts by the young captain Iljas Soltaev (see photo), commander of the special battalion "K" named after A. Kadyrov, the father of the current president of Chechnya, resounded like a lightning bolt.

Soltaev wrote that "the Chechens had exterminated the federals, and thousands of Russian occupiers lay dead on the streets of Groznyj on New Year's Eve 1995", recalling the dramatic days of the Chechen war of the Yeltsin period. At the time, the Chechen officer was five years old, and his memories are a legacy of separatist sentiment that has not yet subsided in the Caucasian territories.

Many Chechens go back in their minds to those days 27 years ago, in which more than 35 thousand people lost their lives. Soltaev openly calls the Russian soldiers "those pigs", as he was taught since childhood, and it doesn't seem to be a problem limited to some groups of fanatics. The national question returns to the forefront in Russia with worrying tones, just as President Putin and the ruling caste are racheting up maximum propaganda to build a "great united Fatherland" in all the territories of the Federation.

The financial and administrative means invested in the support of the official ideology, which include the obsessive defense of "historical memory" bent to the needs of regime politics, appear less and less effective. While condemning all the best intellectual forces of the country with the infamous epithet of "foreign agents", closing associations such as Memorial that oppose repressions and totalitarian regurgitations, the centralist edifice is leaking water on all sides, and Chechnya is a striking example of this.

Although it has been led for more than 20 years by a Putin loyalist, the Groznyj dictator Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechnya appears more and more a "State within a State", not to mention the visceral reaction of the Kazan Tatars to the elimination of the title of "president" of Tatarstan, with similar protests in many regions of the Caucasus and Siberia.

In Groznyj and Magas (the capital of Ingushetia) there is a return to the exaltation of the time of the Vainaks, the ancient Caucasian tribes from which Chechens and Ingush are derived. As in the old days, the marauders of the mountains feed on the spoils of the neighboring peoples, as they now do by sucking up the special endowments granted by Moscow to these peoples after the conflicts of the 1990s.

The attractiveness of the Russian "sobornost", the spiritual union in the name of the defense of great moral and religious values, fails to take root even at the level of interreligious dialogue, despite the devotion of Tatar and Siberian mullahs to the cause of the great Russia. Recent events in Afghanistan have also rekindled the aggressive feelings of Muslim groups in Chechnya, who now exalt the figure of Soltaev, called a "Chechen officer" as if he were from an independent army.

The Russians are unable to make themselves loved by their Caucasian "brothers" and many other nationalities, who can barely stand them with obvious hostile feelings in their hearts as increasingly overweening imperialists. Putin's super-nationalist turn, celebrated last year with the new Constitution and then supported by a series of increasingly stifling laws and provisions, could lead to new outbreaks of conflict within the Federation, starting with the third Chechen war.

Also for this reason Russia is trying to impose on the West the principle of "non-enlargement" of NATO to the former Soviet countries, using the weapon of the threat towards Ukraine, while in reality it is only trying to contain the many centrifugal pushes of its empire.

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