The North Caucasus Project
The North Caucasus research project seeks to better understand how the relationship between domestic sources of instability and transnational Jihadis is evolving as well as how key regional players such as Turkey, Iran, and others perceive this threat.
Particularly as Russia gears up for a new election cycle in 2011-2012, it is imperative for the U.S. intelligence and policy-making communities to understand in more granular detail how security and governance challenges in the Northern Caucasus are evolving. The wars in Chechnya had a considerable impact on the Russian electoral cycles in 1996 and again in 2000, and the tragic terrorist attack at the school in Beslan in 2004 resulted in significant changes to Russian electoral law. This has large implications for Russia going forward.
The Northern Caucasus remains the most dangerous flashpoint of instability in the Russian Federation. The entire region is plagued by extreme poverty, high unemployment, and corrupt governance. In addition, the prevalence of radical Islamic influences as well as growing competitive nationalist identities further increases the challenges for governance and stability. Building on the previous scholarship at CSIS on this region of Russia, the Russia and Eurasia Program examines the potential for greater instability in the Northern Caucasus, the effectiveness of Russian regional and federal government policies, and the role of external actors in the region.