Guerilla War in Kabardino-Balkaria , Another Chechnya Erupts

Jamestown Foundation’s Eurasia Monitor and RFE/RL has a good roundup of the Nalchik raid. All of them supporting StrategyPage’s position of another guerilla war coming to Russia

Key quote from a Russian legislator:

“It was more like a mutiny, an attempt to seize power in the city, and we should label it properly.” Ilyukhin added that the Russian security agencies cannot guarantee that there won’t be a repetition of the Nalchik events somewhere else in the North Caucasus and that the situation in the region, in his opinion, has no military solution.

From the Duma Security Committee member Viktor Ilyukhi, after meeting with the Interior Minister, the Director of the FSB and others on Nalchik
(RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 9, No. 198, Part I, 20 October 2005)

Jamestown’s round-up confirms that Nalchik is part of a wider guerilla war, albeit still in its early stages, at least for Kabarindo-Balkaria:

With few causalities, the rebels will be able to continue their attacks in Kabardino-Balkaria. In fact, guerilla warfare has already started in the republic. On October 17, Camagat, the website of the rebels from Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachaevo-Cherkessia, reported fierce fighting between insurgents and federal troops near Kenzhe village, in the outskirts of Nalchik. The next day the authorities admitted that a special operation was underway near Kenzhe to search for fighters who use the settlement as a base (Interfax, October 18). Kavkazsky Uzel reported that gunmen attacked the police special-task unit (OMON) headquarters in Iskozh district of Nalchik on October 17. The same day NTV said that there was an attack on a police checkpoint manned by troops from Rostov-on-Don, a detachment sent to Nalchik to reinforce local troops (NTV, October 18). On October 18, Camagat again reported clashes in Nalchik and Baksan, a village in the north of the republic. The website also said that policemen had taken several female hostages in the Balkar village of Bilim in Elbrus mountain district. They want to exchange the women for the husbands.

It is difficult to say whether a long-term guerilla war by Kabardinian insurgents will undermine the authorities, but the operation seems to be quit real. Putin may soon find himself in another quagmire like the ongoing one in Chechnya.

Andrew Smirnov, Jamestown Foundation, Eurasia Monitor, 10/20/05, V. 2, Issue, 195

For Putin, I am sure this is setting off alarm bells. Russia has always fead a domino-effect resulting from an independent Chechnya. If Moscow doesnt find a socio-political solution, but instead relies (in Putin’s words) to act “ruthlessly” against the insurgents – Russia will see itself losing all of the Caucasus in 10-20 years.



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