Scepticism and Rumours Over Gadzhidadayev Death

Another day, another special operation in Dagestan.  As a result of the latest — this time in the Makhachkala suburb of Semender — security forces have reported the death of Gimry Dzhamaat leader Ibragim Gadzhidadayev.  Regional assembly head Magomedkhabib Magomedaliyev is also suspected to be among the dead.

Caucasus-focused commentary website Kavkazskaya Politika asks three key questions about the operation that can be summarised as follows:

  1. Will the situation improve following Gadzhidadayev’s death?
  2. Why do such “successful, in all senses, people as Magomedaliyev” end up joining the insurgency?
  3. If the militants were surrounded, why not arrest them?

The answers Kavkazskaya Politika offers are far from positive.   On the first question, it notes that experts are sceptical:

experts believe that the situation will not change much.  In their opinion, today in Dagestan there is no unified command, militant groups can number one or two people, they act autonomously, at their own discretion.

Question three is one that is often asked about operations in the North Caucasus.  Kavkazskaya Politika notes that there have been many rumours about Gadzhidadayev:

that he had powerful patrons among high-ranking officials, and well-known businessmen voluntarily and through compulsion paid him “tribute.”  And the whole truth would be exposed if Gadzhidadayev were arrested.

Such allegations are familiar to anyone who follows events in the North Caucasus, and Dagestan in particular. Militant leaders are rarely arrested, leading to accusations that they have been killed because the intelligence they could provide might prove damaging to powerful people. But without such intelligence there is little chance of defeating the insurgency. One of the rare occasions where a militant leader was arrested — Emir Magas in 2010 — dealt a huge blow to the insurgency in Ingushetia, one from which it has arguably never recovered. By contrast, there is a high attrition rate among Dagestani rebel leaders and yet no sign of the situation improving. Thus the scepticism of experts is understandable.

And the second question? Kavkazskaya Politika describes the current situation as a “war of ideologies” that the authorities are losing. It’s an argument that’s hard to refute.

The full article (in Russian) can be found here:

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