Like other majority Muslim regions of the former Soviet Union, the republic of Dagestan, on Russia's southern frontier, has become contested territory in a hegemonic competition between Moscow and resurgent Islam. In this authoritative book the leading experts on Dagestan provide a path breaking study of this volatile state far from the world's gaze. The largest and most populous of the North Caucasian republics, bordered on the west by Chechnya and on the east by the Caspian Sea, Dagastan is almost completely mountainous. With no majority nationality, the republic developed a distinctive system of calibrated power relations among ethnic groups and with Moscow, a system that has been undermined by the spillover of the wars in Chechnya, Wahhabi and Islamist recruiting efforts targeting youth, and Moscow's reassertion of the 'power vertical'. Underdevelopment, high birthrates, transiting pipelines, and the rising incidence of terrorist violence and assassinations add to the explosive potential of the region. Authors Ware and Kisriev combine analysis of the dynamics of domination and resistance, and the distinctive forms of social organization characteristic of mountain societies that may be applicable to other areas such as Afghanistan. They draw on decades of field research, interviews, and data to offer unique perspective on the civilizational collision course under way in the Caucasus today.
1. Introduction; 2. Murids and Tsars: Islamic Ideology as an Antidote to Russian Colonialism; 3. Soviet Rule in the North Caucasus: Betrayal of Islam and Construction of Ethnicity; 4. Democratic Dagestan: Ethnic Accommodation in the Constitutional Djammat; 5. The Islamic Factor: Revival and Radicalism; 6. Conflict and Catharsis: Why Dagestanis Fought to Remain in Russia; 7. Stepping on the Same Rake: Russian Recentralization and Islamic Resistance; 8. A Gathering Darkness; Appendix: Miskindji Village Protests.