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Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
This article analyzes social protests in the Republic of Dagestan, from the viewpoint of ethnic groups and communities. Specifically – social protests organized by public organizations of ethno-cultural orientation, and by activists participating in such. Described are the socio-economical and political issues which unite in their protest efforts the Kumyks, Nogays and Akkin Chechens living in Dagestan. Protests which occurred in recent years are used as an example to study the forms and methods of holding public protests, together with agendas conveyed by the informal leaders and activists of ethno-cultural public organizations. The main reason for protest mobilization among the flatland peoples of Dagestan (Kumyks and Nogays) is considered to be the republican land reform commenced in 2015, which involves redrawing the administrative borders of rural municipal districts and settlements due to a multitude of built-up areas, which lay claim to rural settlement status, emerging on the republic’s feeding grounds (i.e. transhumance lands). While Dagestan’s authorities ignored signs indicating that an ethnic protest mobilization is brewing among the Nagays, the protest movement grew on behalf of an entire ethnic group, the process now including not only Nogays from Dagestan, but also members of Nogay communities from other Russian federal subjects. This study examines such an issue as the much delayed reconstruction of the Aukhov district of Dagestan, with the leaders of Akkin Chechen public organizations – who hold an annual meeting on the 23rd of February each year in memory of the 1944 repressions – keeping track and making sure that this problem is not swept under the rug. Described are the difficulties faced by Dagestan’s government authorities in keeping track of the interests of all ethnic communities affected by the problem of reconstructing the Aukhov district. Analyzing the reaction of Dagestan’s authorities to protest activity among ethnical activists reveals, on one hand, authorities being interested in actively resolving social issues brought up during such meetings, and on the other hand – reluctance to give in to pressure from ethnical public organizations and individual activists. Highlighted is the constructive role of public protests, which warn government authorities about potential social crises and conflicts, which are increasingly more difficult to silence and ignore, given conditions when mobilizing a public protest is not troublesome in the least with the help of modern means of mass communication.
Dagestan, social protest, ethnic group, Kumyks, Nogais, Chechen-Aqkins, land reform, rehabilitation of repressed peoples.
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