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Kisriyev: North Caucasus is more democratic than the rest of Russia07.12.2012 | 16:20
Russian society can be divided into representatives of at least three states. One is populated by Conservatives supportive of the rule; the second - by the people aimed at modernization; and the third - the residents of the North Caucasus and the Muslim community. This was stated in the report the "Awakening of Russia", prepared by the Carnegie Moscow Center in late November. The Big Caucasus asked the sociologist, head of the sector of the Caucasus, Center for Civilizational and Regional Studies, RAS, Enver Kisriyev whether he agreed with the fact that the North Caucasus is a kind of state within a state.
- This is not true. Such an idea arises due to a significant distortion in the informational environment", Kisriyev notes. "The media always presents the Caucasus as a threat to the rest of Russia. Somehow, it is believed that in the Caucasus there are some other processes, although there are the same processes as everywhere in the country, except for a very important element. In the Caucasus, for various reasons relating to family, clan and ethnic relations, the situation like in the village of Kushchevskaya is impossible. At the local level you cannot create such a group, consisting of the heads of administrations, the FSB officers, prosecutors, police officers, which can bring lawlessness. We cannot do this. In the Caucasus, each chief, in addition to his duty, takes into account the customs and remembers about family relations. Since rigid bureaucratic-criminal networks are not possible here, we can see many examples of resistance to authoritarian aspirations of local authorities in the Caucasus. But in terms of the internal fabric, the Caucasus is no different from any other region of Russia. It has its own specifics, but this applies to all regions.
- There is a common belief that Muslims are not very receptive to democracy. We can make an opposite conclusion from your words. In your opinion, is the North Caucasus more democratic in comparison with other regions of Russia?
- That's right, if democracy for us means not "peace and quiet and the grace of God", not some common ideas, but the rule of the people. Democracy implies the existence of a fierce political struggle, the possibility to express yourself, to express your views. In this regard, the Caucasus is more democratic than the rest of Russia. I will not take the higher realms, but at the level of local self-governance the Caucasian people, including Russians living in the Caucasus, have more opportunities to protect their rights and defend their point of view. Take the same Kushchevskaya. There has happened a monstrous murder, and the exclusivity of this murder has caused a resonance. For months federal officials could not find out anything, because the people were silent. And only when they started imprisoning the region's heads, and some officials were dismissed, the people started telling something. It turned out that rapes and unpunished killings took place every year. Kushchevskaya is a very good example. Only the very crime was exclusive, the nature of human existence is quite typical for the whole of Russia, except for the Caucasus.
- What this democracy in the Caucasus can be accounted for?
- The traditional Caucasian view has never included strong power, absolutely unconditional and powerful, and alienated from a common man. Any issue has always been resolved through consensus or public opinion. Caucasians have developed a higher level of independence in terms of solving problems and respect for public opinion, to the customs. If a Caucasian has a big trouble, he runs not to the officials and police officers, but addresses the issue with help of relatives and friends. But Russia has always relied on hard power. And when it does not exist - for example, when the police is protecting personal interests instead of duties - ordinary Russian man feels helpless, he needs the power. Caucasians look more active and capable. Living in other regions of Russia he is actively showing his intentions, while local residents feel threat emanating from him. In the Caucasus, he shows this activity during conflicts. Democracy is, in general, constant conflicts, since it implies legal existence of different views and opinions. Of course, in the Caucasus the pluralism often shows itself in violent forms. But in Russia they do not know, they do not want to notice that 90 percent of potentially conflict issues in the Caucasus can be solved by compromise.
- According to the Carnegie Center, revolutionary path of development in Russia is rather possible than the evolutionary. Are "peace and quiet", of which you said above, temporary? Will Russia sooner or later have to pass through the "conflict" stage?