Putin Calls for Ethnic Balance in New Dagestan Leadership

MOSCOW, February 1 (RIA Novosti) – The new leadership of the North Caucasus republic of Dagestan should be well balanced in its ethnic makeup, President Vladimir Putin said on Friday, after the republic’s government was dissolved this week following the resignation of its head Magomedsalam Magomedov on Monday.

“The first stage is to form a capable, responsible and effective team, balanced in all aspects, including its ethnic component,” Putin said on Friday at a meeting with Dagestan’s acting leader Ramazan Abdulatipov, a veteran local politician and State Duma deputy.

“Of course, the people of various ethnicities need to feel that their representatives are involved in all the republic’s central power bodies,” Putin said.

In a tradition dating back to the Soviet era, top government positions are distributed on an ethnic basis in Dagestan, the largest republic in Russia’s North Caucasus.

Dagestan, with a population of over 2.5 million people, is also the most multinational region in the country with about a dozen major ethnic groups and many more smaller ones.

The republic has been wracked by years of Islamist insurgency by groups seeking independence from Moscow, and sees frequent attacks by them on the security forces and administration.


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