The Principle of Collective Punishment Is Promoted in Dagestan

Jamestown Foundation Blog
Tuesday, August 14, 2012

By Valery Dzutsev

On August 9, deputy mayor of the Dagestani city of Khasavyurt, Salimkhan Jamaldinov, was fired for his son’s involvement in the insurgency. Earlier on August 7, law enforcement cornered a group of suspected rebels in a private house in Khasavyurt. After lengthy negotiations, three suspects surrendered themselves, including the deputy mayor’s son, 31-year-old Iskhak Jamaldinov. One of the suspected rebels refused to surrender and was killed by government forces. In a special statement, president of Dagestan, Magomedsalam Magomedov said: “People who failed to bring up their own children as law-abiding citizens and did not make timely steps to undercut their relatives’ connections to the terrorist groups, must immediately step down from their positions in the government” (http://www.riadagestan.ru/news/2012/8/9/140753/).

According to official sources, Iskhak Jamaldinov began aiding the insurgents in 2010. It is, therefore, unclear why the deputy mayor was not dismissed from his position previously if the authorities were aware of his son’s crimes. It is also highly legally dubious for an official to be dismissed simply because his or her relative joined the insurgents. It is hardly lawful to fire workers for failing to bring up law-abiding citizens. If this is the rule, then why are relatives punished only for their kin’s participation in the insurgency and not for other crimes? A website with a reputation of being close to the Russian security services, Lifenews.ru, alleged that not only Salimkhan Jamaldinov’s son, but also his daughter, his nephew and he himself had a history of being involved in the insurgency (http://lifenews.ru/news/99198). If, even with this knowledge, the Russian security services were unable to remove Jamaldinov from office, it implies the opposition to Moscow in Dagestan may be much more widespread than is often assumed.

Journalist Orkhan Jemal told the website Ekho Kavkaza that the children of Khasavyurt elites have often been implicated in having connections to the insurgency. The time when people joined the insurgents because of poverty or other social problems is in the distant past, according to Jemal. Now, the journalist says, people join the insurgency on ideological grounds, a development that cannot be reversed through economic improvement and social means (http://www.ekhokavkaza.com/content/article/24673322.html).

The news thus appears to confirm reports about a deepening crisis in Dagestan. The government’s attempts to instill the principle of collective punishment are a sign of weakness that causes the republic’s further departure of from the Russian legal sphere.

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