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Ibragim Yaganov, one of the leaders of the Circassian public organization Khase, was hospitalized on December 5 after being assaulted and severely beaten at the entrance to the organization's office in Nalchik. Five days earlier, Ruslan Keshev, leader of the public organization Adyghe Khase, was the victim of an identical assault. Both Yaganov and Keshev had been insulted and vilified during a televised "Forum of Youth For Inter-Ethnic Harmony" that took place in Nalchik on November 28.

Yaganov said the people who attacked him on December 5 told him, "We are Muslims, not Circassians," and he inferred from that statement that at least some members of the Kabardino-Balkaria Republic police force have joined forces with Muslim radicals against those Circassians perceived as being in opposition to the republic's leadership. In recent weeks, Khase has campaigned publicly for the repeal of legislation on redistricting that would transfer thousands of hectares of mountain pastures to Balkar-populated villages.

Yaganov expressed amazement at such a tactical alliance, given that it was indiscriminate reprisals by police and devout but law-abiding young Muslims that impelled the latter to launch multiple attacks against police and security facilities in Nalchik in October 2005.

Yaganov criticized KBR President Arsen Kanokov for failing to publicly condemn the attack on Keshev. He further denied that Khase has had any contact with the opposition to Kanokov, let alone that it has "been bought" by the opposition and aspires to seize power through the violent overthrow of the present republican leadership.

Khase for its part released a statement accusing the republic's leadership of resorting to violence rather than seeking to resolve differences through "constructive dialogue."

Khase had planned to convene a meeting in Nalchik on December 5 to demand the annulment of the controversial draft law, but canceled it on December 4 under pressure from the municipal authorities.

About This Blog

This blog presents analyst Liz Fuller's personal take on events in the region, following on from her work in the "RFE/RL Caucasus Report." It also aims, to borrow a metaphor from Tom de Waal, to act as a smoke detector, focusing attention on potential conflict situations and crises throughout the region. The views are the author's own and do not represent those of RFE/RL.


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