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More Complicated than Separatism

From Masha Lipman in the Washington Post:

The upsurge of violence in North Caucasus is a consequence of outrageous abuses of authority by local leaders and the Kremlin’s irresponsible policies. Politically, the Russian government has no worries; it has no political opposition to challenge its policies, and people at large wouldn’t hold the Kremlin to account for the rising violence in North Caucasus. As long as the violence stays away from their homes, they pay little if any attention to developments in this restive region. In a sense, many Russians don’t regard North Caucasus as part of their country, and it is not uncommon to hear people say on radio shows or in private conversations that the Caucasus republics should be let go.

That, of course, is not a solution. First, the North Caucasus republics are not seeking independence. Why would they, if allocations from the Russian budget sustain them? And, second, their location ensures that their countless problems are Russia’s responsibility.