The acting head of Dagestan, Ramazan Abdulatipov, announced
on television that the republic’s authorities were considering granting amnesty
to militants prepared to renounce terrorism and return to civilian life.
Ramazan Abdulatipov’s statement was a reaction to an open
letter from journalist Marina Akhmedova that was published
The letter appealed for amnesty for those insurgents who are prepared
to come out and return to a peaceful way of life.
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Akhmedova, a Russky
Reporter special correspondent, wrote in her letter to Ramazan
Abdulatipov: “Given the situation in the region, it is, indeed, easier to
destroy the hard-liners. But mercy is the main sign of strength. And, like
strength, it must be demonstrated.”
Ramazan Abdulatipov stated on Russian Channel One that he
had read the letter and was ready to take measures.
“I called back and said,
‘prepare competent proposals.’ We must learn to forgive one another,” he said.
The issue of amnesty for underground gangs has been raised
by Dagestan’s previous leadership, as well.
For instance, a commission to
assist in assimilating former militants was set up in 2010, though the amnesty
did not materialize.
Now, however, the conditions are in place for this, believes
the director of the North Caucasus Islamic Studies Center, Ruslan Gereyev.
“We are talking about aiding and abetting. About the people
who provided food, medicines, did recruiting work but who have no blood on
their hands. I think our society is ready, and the political set-up in Dagestan
is such that normal ideological work in this direction might begin. As for
terrorism proper, it is more the prerogative of the federal center. The
constituent entities of the Federation have no say on such matters. The
percentage of radicalized youth may be high, but only 3-4 percent carry arms,” said
Yana Amelina, head of the Caucasus Studies Sector at the
Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, is convinced that the government should
not be soft on the militants: “No guerillas, no ‘forest brothers’ can exist if
they do not have massive support among the so-called peaceful population. People
must also understand and know that, if they let a thug into their home, they will
be punished as accomplices.”
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“Of course, one can only get the better of bandits of any
kind not by alleviating their lot but by cracking down on them, so the screws
must be tightened, not loosened. And, of course, it is necessary to step up the
ideological struggle — religious and political — to prevent the underground from
being joined by new people. Yet those who have made their choice must answer
for it. We are not talking about 10- to 14-year-olds; we are talking about grown-ups,”
An amnesty for armed insurgents has already been carried
out in the neighboring territory of Chechnya.
Based on materials from Kommersant.