Foreign Policy and Civil Society Program
o the world’s main sporting events: it would irrevocably damage Putin’s personalized ruling system, which putssecurity and stability beore democracy and human rights.And third, the threat posed by the insurgency does notstop at Russia’s borders. Te leaders o the Emirate warnthat their planned Pan-Caucasus Islamic state will extendbeyond the territory o the present Russian Federation.Georgia is their stated rst target. Umarov has already appointed the Emir o Georgia. But Azerbaijan too — theconduit or vital oil and gas export pipelines — is vulner-able. Azerbaijani ghters are a common sight in rebelgroups in Chechnya and Daghestan.Umarov has also threatened the West. Te original videostatement on the declaration o the Caucasus Emirate,which RFE/RL’s North Caucasus Service managed to obtainbeore it was made public, contained threats to attack theUnited States, the U.K., and Israel in retaliation or theirreluctance to condemn or challenge Russia’s policies inChechnya. Aer the service broadcast parts o declara-tion, Umarov publicly retracted that threat. It is not clear,however, whether that was a genuine change o heart ora tactical move intended to placate the critics. Umarov’ssubsequent rhetoric suggests the latter.For years, Russia employed a two-pronged strategy in theNorth Caucasus. It used brute orce — oen indiscrimi-nately and whole-heartedly — and money, mostly hal-heartedly and selectively. Te biggest recipients o Russianunds are loyal local amilies and clans, which, like theKadyrov clan in Chechnya, are granted carte blanche toconduct counterinsurgency operations, usually accom-panied by campaigns o kidnapping, torture, and murderagainst suspected insurgents and critics, as long as the efort
The leaders of the Emirate warnthat their planned Pan-CaucasusIslamic state will extend beyondthe territory of the present RussianFederation.
ment included on the list o most-wanted terrorists in July 2010, and ofering $5 million or inormation leading tohis capture. In 2007, Umarov had announced the establish-ment o a Caucasus Emirate whose borders encompass theRussian republics o Chechnya, Daghestan, Ingushetia,North Ossetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachayevo-Cher-kessia, and the ederal region o Stavropol.Whether, as some observers believe,
Umarov receivesunding rom Al-Qaeda, and that Al-Qaeda has played akey role in “proselytizing jihadism” to the mujahidin inChechnya and elsewhere in the Caucasus, has not beendenitively proved. Te act remains, however, that in hisregular video addresses, Umarov has repeatedly expressedsupport or Muslims worldwide engaged in jihad, andofered them what help and advice he can give. Chechenghters already occupy prominent positions within somealiban groups.
Tey also appear to inspire emerging jihadi groups in parts o Central Asia and Russia’s Volgaregion. aliban commanders, acknowledging that many o their ghters either ought or trained in Chechnya,
seek tocoordinate their activities with those o the North Caucasusinsurgency.Second, the North Caucasus militancy is arguably as greata threat to political stability in Russia — and in the longerterm, to the survival o the Russian Federation — as theemerging protests against President-elect Vladimir Putin. Itwas, aer all, the then-largely ignored ghting that eruptedin 1988 in Azerbaijan’s disputed Nagorno-Karabakh regionthat set in motion the chain o events culminating in thecollapse o the Soviet Union three years later.Soon aer the Black Sea resort town o Sochi won its bidto host the 2014 Olympic Games, the Daghestani militants vowed to “attack any o the so-called ‘Olympic partici-pants’ who represent the country’s war against Muslims.”Te North Caucasus militants have already shown they are capable o staging attacks in ar-away Moscow. Surely,targeting Sochi, which is only 600 kilometers rom Grozny,cannot be logistically more challenging than targeting thenation’s capital. Such an attack would not just disrupt one