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Russia's Deputy Prosecutor Calls For Vetting All North Caucasus Police

Russia's Deputy Prosecutor Ivan Sydoruk says the blast in the Vladikavkaz market last month was partly due to police negligence.

Russia's Deputy Prosecutor Ivan Sydoruk says the blast in the Vladikavkaz market last month was partly due to police negligence.

Addressing a Federation Council committee on October 25, Russia's Deputy Prosecutor General Ivan Sydoruk lambasted law enforcement, military, and security personnel in the North Caucasus, affirming that unprofessionalism, inefficiency, and corruption within their ranks is playing into the hands of the Islamic insurgency.

Sydoruk claimed that the lion's share of the weaponry currently in the hands of the Islamic militants came from Russian military bases in the region. He said the sniper's rifle used in the June 2008 assassination of Daghestan's Interior Minister Lieutenant General Adilgirey Magomedtagirov was taken from a weapons store at a Russian military base and returned after the killing.

Sydoruk recalled that the sabotage attack in July on the Baksan hydro-electric power station in Kabardino-Balkaria succeeded primarily because the police guards at the facility were asleep. Additionally, Sydoruk said that police in North Ossetia failed to search the bomb-laden car that exploded on September 9 in Vladikavkaz, killing 19 people. (Two men have been arrested and admitted to their role in the Baksan raid, Regnum news reported on October 26).

Sydoruk further advocated sacking all North Caucasus police personnel within the framework of the ongoing reorganization of the federal police force. Officers would then be individually vetted and a decision taken whether to offer them a new contract. This, Sydurok argued, is the only way to rid the police of "cowards and traitors." Such a proposal is likely to elicit howls of protest and outrage from Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov. Earlier this year, Kadyrov was angered by a proposal to reduce the Chechen police force -- which currently numbers around 17,000 -- by 20 percent.

Sydoruk identified several additional factors conducive to the spread of "extremism" in the North Caucasus, namely, unemployment (currently at 51 percent in Ingushetia and 41 percent in Chechnya) and the "ideological vacuum" created by the official Muslim clergy's inability to offer an attractive alternative to the Salafi ideology professed by the insurgency.

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.