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"Suicide bomber that killed Sheikh, had been trained from abroad"30.08.2012 | 11:32
Dagestan is waiting for the continuation of a bad history that began yesterday with the murder of the Sheikh Said-Effendi. What can happen - a civil war or a "St. Bartholomew's Day massacre", as many say? Or local leaders can settle the situation? Experts Sergey Markedonov and Madina Shavlokhova answered these questions especially for GTimes.
Sergey Markedonov, a visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington.
- After the collapse of the USSR in Dagestan was formed a tangle of problems, alien to any other region in the Russian Federation. There are inter-ethnic, land and migration problems. None of these problems has been solved. But the conflict between the supporters of the so-called traditional Islam and Salafi, called Wahhabism by many, is outstanding. And in this conflict everything is quite ambiguous. There is no clearly bad and definitely good. And while the Salafis go to the woods, to the underground, the "traditional" Muslims became involved in corruption, in the privatization of power, etc. And even this is not a complete picture of the Dagestani mosaic.
On the one hand, the deceased Said-Effendi was perceived by Islamic radicals as "an agent of the Kremlin". But this is misleading. Moscow and supporters of official Islam are tied with a temporary alliance in Dagestan. The official Islamic structures were and are against the spread of Salafi views and approaches to theology and religious practice. That's the essence of this alliance. In many other activities the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Dagestan is not really synchronized with the national interests of Russia.
In recent years, we see that both sides of the religious conflict in Dagestan have finally realized the importance of achieving consensus and reconciliation. Thus, on December 15, 2010, in Makhachkala passed the Congress of the peoples of Dagestan, where were sounded calls to correct the republican legislation on religious issues. First of all, it was about the regional law "On prohibition of Wahhabism and other extremist activity in the Republic of Dagestan" (1999). We also can remember the Commission to adapt the militants who fled from underground, created in November 2011.
The role of the murdered Sheikh in this process was huge. This is his personal involvement in the process of domestic Islamic dialogue. In April 2012, representatives of the Sufis and Salafis achieved the first public compromise agreement. That's why the organizers of this attack were well aware of the consequences of his murder.
Madina Shavlokhova, journalist, political analyst.
- I think, we shouldn't expect a kind of "St. Bartholomew's Day massacre" or some revenge. More likely, there will be held a general meeting of representatives of different faiths, and they can come to a consensus.
According to the people with whom I spoke today, suicide bomber that had killed the Sheikh, was trained not by the people who live in Dagestan, but some outside forces. Whatever it is actually, in terms of maintaining peace this version is reasonable. There is a feeling that in this case we can talk about the external force, which is not interested in peace in Dagestan.
- Who might be interested in destabilization in Dagestan?
- We can't exclude involvement of some special services, including from some nearby countries. It is possible that this was done through Azerbaijan or through Georgia. We know that despite the fact that the border is well equipped, in fact it is full of holes. They even cannot control the goat trails. They deliver the books and the money via the border.
- It is rather common practice when widows or wives of militants become suicide bombers. And women of Russian origins are among them not for the first time. How could this happen?
- People who are promoting radical Islam, they are excellent psychologists and very good speakers. They have plenty of opportunities to make people commit a particular crime. And we must remember what people they are working with. These people are rather illiterate. Although in this case the girl seemed to be studying at the university. Therefore, those who prepared this girl for this crime, they were very well aware of her condition and could control her. And it is not easy - to work on the human psyche, so that he would be ready to blow up himself and other people. Actually, even in this case we can say that these people have a low level of education and are not always mentally balanced.