In no other region of Russia are protests against the crowd so violent as in the republics of the North Caucasus. Experts say the region is on the brink of an insurgency war. There are many reasons for this.
The last time Russia saw mobilization was in 1941. When Adolf Hitler attacked the Soviet Union in a war of annihilation. Now, more than 80 years later, Vladimir Putin expects his people to move again. Mobilization has been going on in Russia for a week. But this time no one attacked the country. And most of the nation knows this, too – although the Kremlin wants to make the population believe by any means necessary that it is in a defensive war against NATO. (Read about the functioning of the Kremlin’s propaganda machine here).
But when it comes to one’s life, and the lives of one’s children, spouses, brothers, and friends, the flashes fall faster than the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Moscow would like. Hundreds of thousands of men are said to have already left the country to escape the mobilization. Miles of queues form at the outer limits. On Monday, the FSB moved armored personnel carriers to the border with Georgia. This is in case people break through the boundaries. At least that’s the reason for intelligence. The government of the neighboring Republic of North Ossetia announced on Tuesday that those trying to cross the border will receive direct debit notices immediately.
While some wait in queues of cars for up to 36 hours to possibly escape conscription, others choose the route of protest. The regions bordering Georgia are the most opposed to mobilization: Dagestan, Ingushetia and Chechnya. Experts are talking about the most radical protests in a long time.
‘Our children are not compost’
On September 22, demonstrators in Dagestan blocked a federal highway in an impressive protest.
On September 25, women took to the streets in the city of Nalchik in the Kabardino-Balkaria Republic. They demonstrated in front of a government building against sending their children and husbands to the front. “I will not abandon my husband even if they shoot me,” one protester told officials. Another shouted, “Did they attack us or what? Ukraine did not attack us.”
At the same time, protests broke out in the Republic of Dagestan. Endirei villagers blocked a highway to prevent their neighbors from moving in. Local media reported that 110 reservists were called up from the village, which has a population of 8,000. Security forces fired shots into the air to disperse the crowd.
In Makhachkala, hundreds of women clashed with the police. “Our children are not compost,” they chanted. More than 100 people were arrested.
«Нет войне!» «Наши дети — не удобрение!»
На митинге в Махачкале женщины скандируют антивоенные лозунги и отбивают задержанных
On September 26, protests broke out again in Makhachkala. A mass brawl erupted between protesters and the police. The detainees were again kidnapped from the hands of police officers. Later, the police and the National Guard surrounded Lenin Square and arrested the young men. The officers checked their phones to see if they had filmed the protests.
Svetlana Isayeva, a human rights activist from Dagestan, is convinced that the protests could be the first signs of events that will be more serious. “There are many victims in Dagestan. Many of our sons died. But no one knows why,” she told the local Kavkaz Reali newspaper. “Why should we be among the first to join the ranks of this ill-fated operation? (…) We mothers do not want our sons to die for someone else’s interests,” Izaeva argues.
She believes that the anti-war protests in the North Caucasus are being carried out by women. “For a long time the so-called war against terrorism in our republic, where the security forces kidnap men and give them weapons or cartridges. Everyone knows it. And something arose in society. Now beauty has overflowed again,” the human rights activist said. The mobilization has shaken the people.”
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“This would be disastrous for the entire power system.”
“The announcement of the mobilization was a huge mistake by Putin, which puts him in a position of pressure to act,” says Professor Mikhail Savva, head of the Ukrainian expert group “SOVA”. “Every subsequent action will aggravate the situation. In some areas, reservists who should not have been mobilized have been released. The authorities have shown a weakness that they do not have,” says Safwa.
If the federal security forces and regional authorities use force to disperse the protests, the traditional structures of the Caucasus – clans, military alliances, religious brotherhoods – will soon join the protest. “This would be a disaster for the entire energy system,” says Savva. “The mobilization will destroy the myth that the entire North Caucasus is behind Putin.”
Packing refutes the imagination
The North Caucasus does not know the war in Ukraine only from television screens. The inhabitants of the North Caucasus republics were among the first troops sent to invade Ukraine. It was soldiers from the republics of Kabardino-Balkaria and North Ossetia who filed the most lawsuits against their dismissal after refusing to fight in Ukraine. And this despite the fact that at the beginning of the war the North Caucasus seemed to support Putin’s invasion. Oleg Orlov, a member of the newly formed council of the human rights organization Memorial Center, says in an interview with “Kavkaz Reale”.
“But it turned out that mass support was an illusion, an illusion. In fact, the residents of the North Caucasus, who themselves have been involved in armed conflicts for many years, and who have experienced armed violence as civilians, understand what expects sons and husbands in Ukraine,” says Orlov.
For Putin’s war
The men are arrested at 4 am, the dead are summoned – the mobility throws Russia into chaos
‘Dangerously close to the brink of riot’
The editor-in-chief of “Novaya Gazeta Europe”, Kirill Martynov, believes that the North Caucasus is “dangerously close to the brink of an uprising.” “Dagestan is a special region. When Putin came to power, he promised peace to Dagestan and the whole country. With Kadyrov’s help, he stopped the second Chechen war so that the war did not extend to the entire North Caucasus,” said Martynov, telling independent radio dozhd. “These people have a wonderful understanding of what war means. Now that they have been sent to a foreign war abroad, they are the first to say what is going on publicly en masse. That Russia attacked Ukraine. And they don’t. They need this war.”
Ramzan Kadyrov’s reaction shows how dangerous the situation in the North Caucasus is. The president of Chechnya, who became famous as Putin’s dogs, declared that there would be no mobilization, at least in Chechnya. The plan was already exceeded by 254% in the first months of the war.