by Bogdan Nedea
The theme of this particular paper could be viewed as a challenge for anybody willing to approach it due to the lack of a formal comprehensive policy towards the North Caucasus. Ever since the second Chechen war in 1999 the Russian authorities have done their best to present a calm atmosphere in the region, something that could not be further from the realities in the field. Therefore, we can emphasize from the very beginning that Moscow still lacks a coherent policy for the region and continues to deny its failures especially when it comes to implementing impulsively developed strategies. We could assess even that 2010 turned out to be more difficult for Russia than the previous year in terms of its problems in the North Caucasus. Nearly all top Russian officials, including Russia’s president, the head of the Investigative Committee of the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Interior Minister, among others, have had to acknowledge the worsening situation in the region. Even according to official data, the total number of militant actions against Russian authorities in 2010 increased one-and-a-half to four times compared to 2009. Denial, along with lack of creative solutions and continuous failures regarding security for Russia’s own citizens and for the entire region, have turned the North Caucasus, over the past two years, into one of the most unstable regions on the planet. Debate on the matter is kept on the low in Russia and other countries find it a waste of time as no cooperation from Russian authorities can ever be taken into consideration. Moreover, total lack of transparency from local and federal authorities regarding almost every aspect of the North Caucasus makes it impossible to obtain a fully fledged evaluation of the situation in the region. Even so, undeniably Moscow has an approach to the North Caucasian region that is best described as ‘highly flexible’. This ironic definition refers to the frequent and sudden changes Moscow makes in its modus operandi in North Caucasus. We can also identify a series of general trends the Russian officials embrace when it comes to the region.