Fwd: EastWest Institute Russian Regional Report: Ethnic Conflict and Regional Separatism

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Date: Sun, 17 Jun 2001 10:49:35 +0300 (EEST)
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Subject: Fwd: EastWest Institute Russian Regional Report: Ethnic Conflict and Regional Separatism

From: MINELRES moderator <minelres@mailbox.riga.lv>

Original sender: Petra Kovacs <multiethnic-owner@yahoogroups.com>

Fwd: EastWest Institute Russian Regional Report: Ethnic
Conflict and Regional Separatism

EastWest Institute
Russian Regional Report
Vol. 6, No. 22, 13 June 2001
blast severely injured Dagestan Information Minister Magomedsalikh
Gusayev in Makhachkala. Gusayev holds one of the most sensitive posts
in the republic where terrorism is often used as a tool to settle
scores among political rivals. Two weeks ago Dagestani police averted
an attempt to assassinate the speaker of the republican  parliament.

In August 1999, when Islamic militants under the command of Chechen
warlord Shamil Basayev took control over several villages in western
Dagestan, Gusayev spearheaded the information campaign against the
invaders. He coordinated a public relations campaign by the media and
think-tanks against rebel propaganda distributed by pro-separatist web
sites. The official site of the Dagestani government, which he set up
as part of that campaign, ranked among Russia's most popular
non-Moscow-based sites for two weeks toward the end of conflict,
according to Rambler.ru. The Islamic Shura (Ruling Council) of
Dagestan, a governing body set up by Shamil Basayev on the occupied
territories, publicly sentenced Gusayev to death in absentia. Despite
these threats, Gusayev refused to use body guards and lives with his
family in an ordinary apartment building.

He was attacked just outside his home.

As an ethnic Agul, one of the smallest ethnic group in Dagestan,
Gusayev does not share the clan interests of Dagestan's larger
nationalities struggling for power in the republic. He has survived
several government reshuffles during the last decade.

"I believe that this murderous assault was motivated exclusively by
political concerns and is related to Gusayev's official position,"
Zagir Arukhov, Dagestani Deputy Information Minister said in a
telephone interview.

"He always supports integrating Dagestan into the Russian Federation
and reinforcing Russia's presence in the republic."

Thanks to quick medical intervention, Gusayev's life is not in danger.
The authorities have opened an investigation to determine the identity
of the perpetrators. 

Nabi Abdullaev in Makhachkala
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