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Protecting the state: Russian repressive tactics in the North Caucasus


Nationalities Papers- The Journal of Nationalism and EthnicityJournal abstract

Since the end of the second Chechen campaign, the North Caucasus counterinsurgency has experienced the shift from military involvement toward prevalence of law enforcement instruments. This paper discusses the composition of repressive tactics that the Russian state developed as a result of the two decades long evolution of a counter strategy designed to eliminate illegal armed groups operating in the North Caucasus.

It is focused on the late stages of conflict (2007–2014) when the violence that had spread across the region started in the early 2000s had symbolically culminated in 2007 with the proclamation of the Caucasian Emirate. This paper advances a reconceptualization of the Russian counterinsurgency by devising an analysis of indiscriminate and discriminate repressive tactics. It demonstrates that security agencies incorporated more selective uses of violence into their tactics, thereby reducing the number of indiscriminate violent actions to an insignificant level.

Moreover, along with selective violence, security institutions reinforced their effort by conducting preventive work such as the detection of secret caches of weapons, seizures, and arrests. Findings regarding the current composition of repressive tactics are illustrated by means of new disaggregated media-based data that were especially collected and analyzed to form the basis of this research.

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