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Another Balkar Activist Beaten In Kabardino-Balkaria

Two unidentified men attacked Dalkhat Baydayev, a member of the embattled Council of Elders of the Balkar People, on October 14 in Nalchik, the capital of the Kabardino-Balkaria Republic.

The attack took place in front of the building where the organization has its headquarters, according to

The Council of Elders of the Balkar People, a grassroots outfit that aims to protect the interests of this ethnic group, was banned earlier this year by the Supreme Court of Kabardino-Balkaria under the pretext of the struggle against extremism, a decision that was seen by many Balkars as unfair and discriminatory.

Balkars have traditionally lived in the mountainous areas of the republic that are most suitable for recreation and tourism and hence seen by the authorities in Nalchik and business groups as economically attractive.

Attempts to transfer those areas under government jurisdiction -- viewed by the Balkar people as an encroachment on their economic interests -- have soured the relations between the Kabardian majority and the Balkars who constitute a mere one-tenth of the population of the territory.

Attacks on Balkar activists occur regularly in the North Caucasus republic. The leader of the Council of Elders of the Balkar People, Oyus Gurtuyev, has been beaten twice and is currently receiving treatment in hospital.

Moscow has so far been reluctant to interfere.

(By Aslan Doukaev, director of RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service)

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