Irina Starodubrovskaya, Head of Center for Political Economy and Regional Development of Gaidar Institute, and Konstantin Kazenin took part in the expert discussion in the “Memorial” human right center. Meeting of experts took place on July 16 in Moscow and was dedicated to the presentation of research of federative relations in Dagestan and Tatarstan.
According to authors of analytical report “Dissipating federalism: Tatarstan and Dagestan under ongoing centralization”, Russian authorities missed the opportunity to build up balanced federative relations and examples of the most successfully developing national republic and one of the socially troubled subjects serve a perfect illustration of transformation of relations between the center and regions in modern Russia.

Russia had the chance to build up balanced federative relations according to principle “powerful center – powerful regions” when current President came into office along with impetuous strengthening of the center. «However, this opportunity was missed. It was stated in the presentation that new country leadership gradually deprived regions of their former sovereignty, having established super centralized management system».

Irina Starodubrovskaya emphasized in her comments to presentation that federalism in democratic countries means protection of human rights with possibility for regions to differentiate them. She asked a question: ”Languages issue clearly demonstrates it. Apparently, there is a subject of the federation having the right to introduce local language. However, who exactly has this right? Elite. And what about population?  Do they have the right of choice?”.

Irina Starodubrovskaya pointed that relations between national republics and center undergo a crisis. She said: «It was provoked by unification measures taken by federal center, however it demonstrated interesting manifestation. Thus, for instance, colonial discourse is becoming active in Ingushetia. The discussion is going on about grand sheik who once upon a time predicted that Ingushetia will be under the authority of Britain and it is necessary to study English.

Konstantin Kazenin commented postponement of solution in regard to land issues which have potential of multinational disputes and conflicts. «In the first months, current team of Vladimir Vasiliev, head of Dagestan, intended to solve these issues quickly. However, these tendencies changed now. Kazenin clarified that currently, there is an intent to move away from solution, let things slide. The reason is that these issues do not have a clear-cut solution as any solution is subjected to discontent from this or that party.

According to expert, this is why it is important to build up dialogue between the parties. «Kazenin said that will of regional authorities and municipalities is required and added that authorities should not be scared to take responsibility. Кonstantin Kazenin also expressed his opinion that archaic clan system may present an alternative to centralization rather than federalism in the Caucasus on the whole and in Dagestan in particular. Kazenin said:«If there were sane political forces, but no, there are no other factors except for clans”.