Monday, December 13, 2010

Window on Eurasia: Moscow Seeks to Counter ‘Kavkaz-Tsentr’ with its Own ‘Tsentr-Kavkaz’

Paul Goble

Vienna, December 13 – Moscow officials have tried various ways to shut down the pro-Caucasus Emirate portal, Kavkaz-Tsentr, including denial of service attacks, pressure on IP providers to drop it, and demonstrations against governments that agree to allow the portal to operate from their national territories.
But now these officials have adopted a new tactic, one that recalls the Soviet period when the USSR jammed foreign radios by broadcasting on a nearby wavelength. In this case, Moscow has established a new self-described “anti-terrorist site ‘Tsentr-Kavkaz” to sow confusion among potential visitors to “Kavkaz-Tsentr.” (
At the end of November, the organizers of “Tsentr-Kavkaz” announced the launch of the new site, They said that their goal was “to exert ideological resistance to extremism, to black the manifestations of religious chauvinism and separatism, both on the territory of Daghestan and throughout the entire North Caucasus.”
The new portal has hypertext links to materials that “reveal the essence of radical groupings acting in the area,” materials that are grouped in the following categories: events, commentaries, analysis, press, polemics, interviews, history, dossier, and a chronoicle of evil actions.”
Again, according to the organizers, “the portal can help people better orient themselves on questions of protecting their personal security,” with materials from “councils of specialists, psychologists, and experts on how to behave in critical situations.” And the organizers said that they were devoting “particular attention” to the security of children and the elderly.
And the site’s organizers say, they invite the participation of visitors who are asked to send questions and materials including videos to But as recent materials on the site make clear, the site, on behalf of the people behind it, have a broader agenda, one intended not only to undermine Kavkaz-Tsentr but also to push particular ideas.
On Friday, reported, the Tsentr-Kavkaz sait sent an appeal to the Congress of Peoples of Daghestan calling on that body to appeal to the federal organs to change laws concerning the definition of the legal status of the Internet in order to put the powers to control it (
Specifically, the Tsent-Kavkaz site called for legislation that would allow the authorities to bring legal action against any IP provider or perhaps even users of Internet sites on which extremist materials are posted and to establish filters that would limit the ability of sites hosted abroad, like Kavkaz-Tsentr, to reach an audience in the Russian Federation.
This new site thus is triply interesting: as a means of countering the oft-used Kavkaz-Tsentr and other sites like it, as an assemblage of interesting materials on a wide variety of issues having to do with militant groups, and as a useful window into the thinking of those among the Russian special services concerning the threat and how best to counter it.

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