Staunton, July 22 – More than two out of every three Dagestani men between the ages of 20 and 24 living in rural areas of that North Caucasus republic are unemployed, a situation that is leading to their radicalization and providing new recruits for both anti-Russian militants and the criminal world, according to official data released last week.
Kavpolit.com journalist Timur Magomayev reports only 21,413 of the 77,900 men in that cohort are employed as of July 15. Officials and commentators may debate what the rest are doing, but they are certainly unhappy with their situation and given their age are almost certain to act on that.
Moreover, because many of these young men are moving to Makhachkala and other cities in the republic, Magomayev continues, they are bringing with them these attitudes and by virtue of their number transforming urban culture. Instead of making the countryside more like the cities, the reverse is occurring, another development which undermines stability.
What Magomayev does not say but what is clearly on the minds of officials in Makhachkala and Moscow is that this pattern holds not just for Dagestan but for most of the North Caucasus and that if only one percent of these unemployed join the militants in Dagestan each year, that will more than compensate for the losses the militants suffer across the region.
Russian and Dagestani officials are trying to address this situation, the Kavpolit.com journalist says, but to date, their policies have been unsystematic, more about words than actions, and remain largely without effect – except for the disappearance of budget funds into the hands of the corrupt.
The programs that these officials have adopted have produced “interesting documents” but not much else, Magomayev says, and he quotes Sergey Dokholyan, an expert at the Dagestani Scientific Center, as to the reasons why: Many programs have been adopted and talked about, but one never hears about results “simply because there aren’t any.”
As a result, the problem is increasing rather than decreasing. Every year, the number of young men who enter this high-risk group increases rather than decreases despite the fact that many of its members move to Dagestani cities or Russian ones looking for work. If nothing is done, the journalist implies, the situation in that republic and others will only continue to get worse.