Sunday, November 7, 2010

Window on Eurasia: Daghestan Commission to Help Ex-Militants Re-Enter Peaceful Life

Paul Goble

Staunton, November 7 – Daghestani President Magomedsalam Magomedov has ordered the creation of a special commission to help support “the adaptation to peaceful life” by individuals who have “decided to end their terrorist and extremist activity on the territory” of his republic.
Given reports that more Daghestanis are joining the militants than leaving them in recent months, Magomedov’s proposals appears to have been offered more in the hopes of attracting positive attention from Moscow than of meeting a genuine need in that most unsettled North Caucasus republic (
But however that may be, the commission has already been formed. It includes, the secretary of the Daghestani Security Council, the chief federal inspector for Daghestan from the apparatus of the Plenipotentiary Representative of the Russian president to the North Caucasus federal district, the ombudsman, heads of ministries and force structures, and religious leaders.
So far, however, the mechanisms that this commission will use “are still not clear.” The republic ombudsman, Ummupazil Omarova said that a special commission is working on this right now because it is so important to “begin dialogue with those who remain in the ranks of the extremists but have not yet been able to commit crimes.”
For such people, she said, “the state must give corresponding guarantees,” and these guarantees must be made a matter of law. Some steps in this direction were taken in 2003-2006 when the Russian Duma declared an amnesty for militants in Daghestan which was then part of the Southern Federal District.
According to Abdurashid Magomedov, the republic interior minister, “the creation of such a commission is a timely and correct decision of the leadership of the republic in the existing situation,” and he said that the force structures will do everything they can to provide “technical support” for its work.
But Makhachkala commentators have already noted that there are only two religious leaders on the commission – Imam Magomedrasul Saaduyev of Makhachkala’s Central Mosque and Abas Kebedov, a representative of the Akhlsunna-va-Dzhamma, who is “considered one of the ideologues of Wahhabism in Daghestan.”
But if Kebedov was chosen for his expertise, he still has not had a chance to give it. He told the media, that “he still had no recommendations on the question of adaptation because there had not been a single working meeting and therefore to say something [about what this commission could or should do] is premature and complicated.”
Kebedov’s concerns that this latest proposal will result in much of anything positive were echoed by Ziyautdin Uvaysov, a prominent Daghestani lawyer and member of the Akhlyu-s-sunna Daghestan organization, in an extensive interview posted on line this weekend (
Uvaysov who has dealt with the regime and with the various parts of the Muslim community in Daghestan acknowledges that “the relationship of the powers that be to Islam is changing” and that the latter “are seeking to find a common language with those Muslims who identify themselves as Salafi,” the trend that is often associated with radicalism.
But despite this desire to find “a common language,” the lawyer continues, the impression exists that “the bureaucracy has not gone very far into the essence of the problem, that it still is a capture of definite stereotypes, misconceptions and the opinions of not very competent experts.”
That explains why the regime seems to move from one extreme to another in its dealings with Muslims, a pattern that does not inspire either confidence or trust and one that makes it likely that few of those among the militants are likely to heed the call of the new commission, however much hope the Daghestani powers that be invest in it.

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