Alexey Gunya, Timur Tenov, Murat Shogenov, Aslan Chechenov, Analysis of governance strategies in the North Caucasian republics with respect to conflict regulation and development in:

Michèle Knodt, Sigita Urdze (Ed.)

Caucasus, the EU and Russia - Triangular Cooperation?, page 37 - 58

1. Edition 2016, ISBN print: 978-3-8487-1686-9, ISBN online: 978-3-8452-5740-2,

Series: Schriftenreihe des Arbeitskreises Europäische Integration e.V., vol. 92

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37 Analysis of governance strategies in the North Caucasian republics with respect to conflict regulation and development6 Alexey Gunya, Timur Tenov, Murat Shogenov and Aslan Chechenov 1. Introduction and problem statement The analysis of modern political systems and governance strategies (i.e., political regimes) in the Northern Caucasus is presented in the scientific literature mainly from the perspective of “democratization” and by comparisons with an idealized Western liberal democratic model. The economic crises and protracted conflicts in the Caucasus are often attributed to the continuing alienation of the current political regimes from this model. This “democratic” discourse obscures certain facts that are pertinent to the modern historical development of the Northern Caucasian regions. In particular, the Northern Caucasus overcame a gruelling period in the 1990s and managed to enter the new millennium without falling victim to general anarchy, confusion, disintegration, famine or the mass emigration of its people. Moreover, progress is evident in many spheres of Northern Caucasian social, political and economic life. Despite the wellknown “diseases” of the region’s local communities – corruption, high levels of subsidies, imperfect electoral mechanisms, censorship in the media, etc. – sustainable patterns of interaction between the population and the authorities that are aimed at ensuring legitimacy can be observed. This interaction is not always based on the well-known mechanisms of the model of liberal democracy; on the contrary, elections, referenda, etc. often become farce. Deep, informal mechanisms of influence over the government and its legitimacy have been poorly investigated. Moreover, the very concepts of power and its functions are region-dependent. ____________________ 6 The results of this analysis are based on data from field studies conducted in the Northern Caucasus by the team of the North Caucasian Graduate School of Conflict Studies at Kabardino-Balkaria State University within the research project “Internal and external social factors of stability and instability in the Caucasus and the response capabilities of the European Union” ( Alexey Gunya, Timur Tenov, Murat Shogenov, Aslan Chechenov 38 The introduction and increased imposition of the democratic discourse marginalizes the objective study of the internal dynamics of political regimes. In addition, the lack of relevant research methods hinders the detailed study of socio-anthropological and political processes at the regional level. The region’s Soviet heritage, with its emphasis on the analysis of social processes from a historical perspective, has deprived researchers of the opportunity to study the actual situation. There is a significant gap between ethnographic and political studies on the Northern Caucasus; the former are thorough and comprehensive (Tishkov 1997, 1999; Kazenin 2009; Chumakov 2010; Drobizheva 2003), whereas the latter have a macro-regional and simplified character (Feldman 1997; Nkovskaya/Stepanov 2000; Zaprudskiy 1992; Zdravomyslov 1997). In this regard, the authors perceive two major dangers that may arise in the context of analysing real government mechanisms and practices: a) the blind adherence to dogma and concepts, including “progressive western thought”; and b) the weak and superficial study of local processes and interactions among actors, institutions and key resources. As shown by the previous work by (Gunya/Koehler 2013), studies of regional processes in the Northern Caucasus can yield very interesting findings, if such studies are conducted in a thorough manner. One such finding is that the local “democracy” may establish its own order and thereby ensure a certain measure of stability and security. This local democracy is quite different from the Western model, with its inherent principles of sovereignty, representation, equality and pluralism. Nevertheless, the local democracy may be best suited to the local geographical and historical conditions and therefore be able to effectively prevent serious conflicts and outbursts of violence. Although it should not be idealized, marginalizing it and making efforts to “inoculate” alien institutions against it (which occurred in 1990 and often recurs now) hardly seems productive. The state deludes itself by using generally accepted democratic laws that are inadequately effective in very specific informal institutional environments and wastes time and effort trying to circumvent related formal institutions. This situation resembles an attempt to establish the “supremacy of law”. Although the mutually beneficial functioning of several legal systems is not currently considered realistic for everyday social life, studies on Central Asia and the Caucasus have shown that state law and traditional rules can in certain circumstances complement each other in an effective manner (Koehler et al. 2014; Babich 2000). Analysis of governance strategies in the North Caucasian republics 39 Much has also been written about governance proper as an external regulatory factor, its upsides and downsides in the Caucasus, and the lessons learned. Governance proper has been evaluated more negatively in recent decades. The consequences of the Russian-Caucasian war – in particular, the mass departure of Circassians from the Northern Caucasus in the Middle East and Turkey, Stalin’s deportations in 1943–44 and the war in Chechnya – are still very much alive in the memories of the North Caucasian people. The state itself (as well as multinational corporations, unions and blocs) would like to simplify the situation for the convenience of governance, control and accounting (Scott 1998). However, the Northern Caucasus is heterogeneous in terms of culture, history and geography, among other features, which makes the unification of external governance, as well as its regulatory functions and decisions, difficult and not always effective. History shows that attempts to unify the vertical power structures have entailed enormous efforts to maintain these structures and to impose control and sanctions. In addition, the introduction of “readymade” democracies in recent decades has often led to high transaction costs and occasionally to conflicts. Certain studies maintain that in the conditions that exist in the Northern Caucasus today, local mechanisms of self-organization and self-governance are the only possible means of preventing violent conflicts (see, e.g., Dmitriev 2003), which we consider to be an extreme viewpoint. It is our position that hybrid governance mechanisms that combine both formal and informal institutional structures and incorporate deep-rooted traditional institutions and norms would be a more effective solution for the Northern Caucasus (Gunya 2004, 2007). 2. Methodological approach The goal of this article is to analyse local governance practices. Emphasis is placed on the involvement of local democratic institutions in political regimes and the manner in which their functions are adjusted to legitimize the power of the ruling elites; the relations between formal and informal institutions; and how governance practices are used to resolve social conflicts in the case of regime change both to ensure a gradual, rather than sudden (and less controlled) change of the ruling elites and to adapt to external changes. This article focuses on the identification and study of conflicts. Conflict is considered an attribute of the dynamics of all social processes and the Alexey Gunya, Timur Tenov, Murat Shogenov, Aslan Chechenov 40 phenomena that invariably accompany these processes, and it plays both negative and positive roles in the development of social processes. Conflicts can simultaneously serve as indicators both of the doldrums and of regress or progress. The study of conflicts is a key to understanding the dynamics of social processes (Gunya et al. 2008: 136). Previously developed methods of analysis have studied conflicts in terms of environment, actors, key resources and institutions (Koehler/ Gunya 2011). According to the principles of the institution-centred approach (Koehler 2013), conflicts do not occur randomly but rather are subject to certain formal and informal rules. Sustainable reproduction of these rules over time leads to their consolidation in the daily lives of people, communities and social groups. Institutions are responsible for the character of the conflict, be it peaceful or violent. Institutions influence the scope and level of violence in a conflict and may even create a framework for a conflict’s peaceful progression, thereby allowing the conflict to promote development but preventing the potential trajectories that can lead to inefficient use of resources, violence or even the destruction of social systems. An institution-centred approach to the study of conflicts implies the existence of special rules that regulate conflicts and provide social dynamics, thereby rendering the institutional structure of society more secure and allowing conflict to lead to selective changes to society as a whole, rather than to destruction and fragmentation. Elvert defined such a rules-based method of regulating conflicts as a procedure; Luhmann demonstrated its ability to generate legitimacy; and Hirschmann proved convincingly that conflict lies at the centre of social cohesion, as observed in other democratic and modern communities (Elwert 2002; Luhmann 1983; Hirschman 1994). The present study attempts to analyse governance strategies in the Northern Caucasus in terms of different approaches to conflict management, namely, the use of institutions and procedures (which generally involves a combination of formal and informal institutions) compared with the so-called “manual” control (in which the decisions taken come from a central authority and controls and sanctions depend on the situation). In the latter approach, institutions rooted in the society remain poor, whereas loyalty to the authorities is provided by subsidies. Analysis of governance strategies in the North Caucasian republics 41 3. Governance and centralization/decentralization of power: do conflicts emerge because of access to resources? The study is based on data obtained from the research of governance practices in the Northern Caucasus at two main levels: 1) the interaction between the federal centre and the regions; and 2) the built-in systems of power in local communities and the associated political dynamics. 3.1. Governance and centralization of power: the relationship between the federal centre and the regions The regional diversity of the Northern Caucasus reveals the two most common governance strategies in terms of the degree of centralization. The first of these strategies is observed in Chechnya, which possesses a highly centralized governance characterized by direct appointments to official positions, preferential budget formation by means of federal grants and a state monopoly on land. Here, the head of the republic does not have any direct opposition and monitors both the average and large businesses of the republic. The heads of districts of the republic are appointed. Federal subsidies and development programs provide a high level of security and promote gradual economic recovery. However, most projects can be frozen in the event of decreased federal subsidies. The practice of guiding the economic development of certain districts of the republic by individual public officials or influential businessmen acting on behalf of Kadyrov is widespread, and Kadyrov himself has broad support among the population. The current situation in Chechnya can be considered favourable. By comparison, the attempt by Arsen Kanokov, the previous head of Kabardino-Balkaria, to monopolize power and industry led to the republic’s destabilization and to his subsequent resignation in 2013. The most prominent example of the second governance strategy is Karachay-Cherkessia, where the head of the republic is a conciliatory figure for the core business clans, whose struggle to access budget flows extends to the local level. Although the ethnic component may be a factor in this struggle, economic interests usually force the business elite to cooperate regardless of ethnicity. Land has been privatized in the lowland steppe Alexey Gunya, Timur Tenov, Murat Shogenov, Aslan Chechenov 42 region of the republic7. Violent confrontations between different interest groups are frequently observed, and organized criminal groups offer their services to the actors involved in the struggle over resources. However, constant interaction between the actors and multilateral negotiations play a significant role in the perpetuation of institutions and in the long-term stability of the political system as a whole. This region is becoming more attractive to investors. Centralization of power and governance are closely linked to the governance structure. All North Caucasian entities were united as equal members in the North Caucasus Federal District in 2010 (with its centre in Pyatigorsk) in terms of the implementation of effective federal governance. A number of key changes occurred at that time, resulting in the formation of new and different relationships between the federal government and its citizens. These changes include the following: • the establishment of federal districts and the transfer of control and auditing powers, as well as development responsibilities, to these districts; • the unification of regional legislation to bring it into line with federal regulations and the abolition of certain norms, primarily those related to the sovereignty of and citizenship in the North Caucasian republics. For example, in 2006, Article 6 of the Constitution of the Kabardino- Balkarian Republic, which determined the citizenship of the Republic, was eliminated, and the term “citizen of the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic” is no longer mentioned (Tenov 2011); • the alignment of the general system of determining the heads of the subjects of the Russian Federation. Specifically, the absolute right to select the candidates for these positions is delegated to the federal centre (i.e., the President of the Russian Federation). This system restores the Soviet practice of maintaining uniform standards for all the subjects of the Federation; ____________________ 7 This situation is virtually unique in the Northern Caucasus, where the privatization of land has been proscribed by federal law, except for several areas of Dagestan (e.g., the Kulinskiy district inhabited by the Laks). Analysis of governance strategies in the North Caucasian republics 43 • the implementation of narrower bounds of competence and rights for the heads of the subjects of the Russian Federation and the introduction of an intermediate barrier to the implementation of initiatives and proposals by such heads (i.e., a requirement that initiatives and proposals be previously coordinated with the Federal District)8. According to some experts, the new administrative structure of authority was intended to expand the legitimate framework of the federal centre alongside a rigid vertical power structure, which allowed the passage of a combination of neoliberal principles and a semi-authoritarian system in the economic and financial areas (Demyanenko 2012; Avtonomov 2001). On 12 May 2014, the Russian president created a special ministry for the Northern Caucasus. The main defined task of this ministry is to transition the region from principles of sectoral financing and governance toward regional principles. An official who was not previously associated with the Northern Caucasus was offered one of the leading positions in this region. The North Caucasian Federal District (NCFD) continues to function alongside the ministry. The plenipotentiary representative position was offered to a former member of the military, Sergei Melikov. Thus, for the first time since the creation of the Federal Districts, this process will be managed by a representative of one of the indigenous people of the region (Sergey Malikov is ethnic Lezghin). In addition, it was emphasized that Alexander Khloponin (former head of the NCFD) will hold the position of the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation and will continue to oversee economic projects. Many experts believe that such changes enhanced Moscow’s power, which overshadows their socioeconomic aspects. If one traces the structural changes chronologically, it is evident that the interaction between the federal centre and the regions reflect a comprehensive effort to jointly solve two basic problems: economic development and security. However, the assignment of business representatives to state positions (the so-called “business approach”) ultimately proved to be inef- ____________________ 8 In the past five years, as the federal centre has erected a rigid system of vertical power, the unitarisation trend has been further enhanced. This is reflected not only in the abolition of the elective principle for regional leaders, which strengthened the administrative resources of the federal centre, but also in the redistribution of powers in favor of the centre and intergovernmental relations. The inherently federal form was replete with unitary content, which in itself is contradictory and has become an additional destabilizing factor. Alexey Gunya, Timur Tenov, Murat Shogenov, Aslan Chechenov 44 ficient. The business approach, which is based on tough and pragmatic decisions, conflicted with collectivist values and traditional notions of social fairness held by the people of the Northern Caucasus. One of the unsuccessful governance practices of the “district system” in the Northern Caucasus relates to the apparent inability of plenipotentiary representatives to subjugate the personal ties and relationships between the heads of the republics and the federal government in favour of institutional (and more sustainable) forms of governance. The logic of the recent changes lies in the dissolution of the political and economic components of governance. The recently created ministry should focus on the implementation of economic programs and projects, whereas the new plenipotentiary representative should – in light of his professional expertise – deal with security and political stability in the region. 3.2. Governance at the local level A full understanding of governance processes must include municipal reform, which has occurred largely in parallel with the process of strengthening the vertical power structure at the federal and regional levels. Initially, the functions of governance and of socioeconomic development were concentrated at the local level. The flow of subsidies provided jobs in administrative systems and on economic projects. Federal legislation regarding local governments that was adopted on 6 October 2003 envisaged sweeping changes at the municipal level; in particular, the legislation intended to tighten the regulation of local governments by unifying governance models, local competencies and funding principles. The main aspects of the reform were the following: • a two-level model of local government comprising structures at the settlement and municipality levels was implemented throughout the country; • more precise regulations regarding the transfer of certain state powers to the local level were introduced to ensure the funding of municipalities from higher-level budgets; • a representative body, a head of the municipality, and a local administration was envisaged for each municipality; • the list of assets for municipal property was limited; Analysis of governance strategies in the North Caucasian republics 45 • revenue sources were attached to municipalities on a regular basis, and principles and mechanisms for providing financial assistance to municipalities based on the need for financial equalization were established9. The new legislation applicable to local governments significantly tightened their regulation. In particular, each municipality would have a representative body, a head of the municipality and a local administration, and the legislation prohibited the same person from simultaneously holding the posts of head of the representative body and head of the local administration (except for rural settlements, which were initially defined as settlements with a population of less than 1,000 people). Additionally, the number of seats on the municipality’s representative body and the number of deputies working on a permanent basis were strictly regulated. Later, several other acceptable municipal authority structures were developed. Specifically, a local government could be elected and structured in accordance with any one of the following models (the first three models had a universal character, whereas the fourth and fifth models could only be implemented in rural areas): 1. the head of the municipality is elected in a general election and heads the local administration, and the chairman of the representative body is elected from the staff of that body; 2. the head of the municipality is elected in a general election and heads the representative body, and the head of the local administration is hired on a contractual basis; 3. the head of the municipality is elected from the representative body and heads this body, and the head of the local administration is hired on a contractual basis; 4. (for rural settlements only) the head of the municipality is elected in a general election and heads both the representative body and the local administration; ____________________ 9 According to the Ministry of Regional Development of the Russian Federation, by 1 October 2005, a system of municipalities including all regions of the Russian Federation, except the Republic of Ingushetia and the Chechen Republic, had been formed. Boundaries were established and the status of 24,510 municipalities, including 520 urban districts, municipal districts in 23,754 rural towns, and 236 municipalities in cities of federal significance, was defined (Voprosy 2005: 110). Alexey Gunya, Timur Tenov, Murat Shogenov, Aslan Chechenov 46 5. (for rural settlements only) the head of the municipality is elected from the staff of the representative body and heads both the representative body and the local administration. Additional options were introduced for the formation of representative bodies in municipal areas. A representative body could be elected by the populace of the municipal district in the general election or formed by appointing the heads and deputies of settlements within the municipal district. In the latter case, the head of the administration was to be hired on a contractual basis. The structure of local governments could also include the elected officials of local self-government, a control authority and other bodies. Among the models discussed here, three types can be highlighted: the model in which the head is elected from the deputy staff, which is the most common model; the model in which explicit priority is given to direct election of the head of administration; and models using a mixed approach. In the vast majority of rural settlements in Kabardino-Balkaria, the head of the municipality is appointed based on the proposal of the district administration and simultaneously heads the local administration and the representative body. In the Republic of Dagestan, approximately 90% of the heads of municipalities are elected in a general election; however, as in Kabardino-Balkaria, the heads of rural settlements act as both the head of the local administration and the chairman of the representative body. Karachay-Cherkessia has implemented a mixed model with a predominance of direct elections in first-level municipalities. Thus, although local governments are not officially part of the state government, they are very closely related. The laws on municipal administration adopted many elements of the European Charter of Local Self- Government. However, most of the 40 powers granted to the municipal level exist only on paper, because their implementation is not supported by the necessary resources. Nonetheless, the local level has adopted certain genuine democratic procedures, such as the election of the local head (although the results of such elections are difficult to predict and at times lead to protests against the “imposition” of candidates). In addition, local communities may challenge government development programs if the topdown projects are considered unsatisfactory (Chechenov et al. 2014). Another important characteristic of local governments is that they represent local communities, which are relatively independent, engage in subsistence farming and have a high degree of embeddedness of traditional in- Analysis of governance strategies in the North Caucasian republics 47 formal institutions, all of which present major obstacles to the centralization of power (Gunya et al. 2008: 136). 4. Manifestations of regional governance strategies at the local level 4.1. Empirical Evidence To analyse the relationship between local communities and the existing regional governance strategies, two North Caucasian republics were chosen: Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay-Cherkessia. These republics are each representative of the North Caucasus regions in terms of sociopolitical and economic situations; however, they demonstrate different methods of conflict resolution. These two republics are somewhat unique in that they each comprise a combination of ethnic groups, from which their respective names are derived. In Kabardino-Balkaria, one can observe the strict centralization of power, suppression of the opposition and the poor development of democratic institutions, many of which are designed to serve the interests of the current ruling elite. In contrast, Karachay-Cher-kessia is characterized by on-going power struggles, which were exacerbated by the local presidential elections in 1999 and 2003. Despite the similarity between the elite groups in Karachay- Cherkessia, each of which comprises business clans and related officials, the societal split between loyal supporters of the authorities and the opposition remains an important contributor to political instability in Karachay- Cherkessia. Thirteen villages were selected from within these two republics. These villages are located in various ethno-cultural habitats and are characterized by heterogeneity in terms of population size, economic conditions and livelihoods. In addition, the selected villages are located at different distances from the local (republican district) administrative centres, ranging from close proximity to the centre to peripheral locations (Table 2.1). The villages Ulyanovskoye, Novo-Ivanovskoye and Novaya Balkaria are located in the fertile plain area, and the development of their resources began relatively recently, during the Soviet era. These villages took advantage of the collective farming concept. The population of this are predominantly Russian-speaking, except in some areas that were inhabited relatively recently by Balkar and Meskhetian Turks. Alexey Gunya, Timur Tenov, Murat Shogenov, Aslan Chechenov 48 Table 2.1: Description of the sample villages Analysis of governance strategies in the North Caucasian republics 49 Ulyanovskoye – this village is populated primarily by Russians (nearly 80% are ethnic Germans who moved from the Volga region, and many of them have since immigrated to Germany), but there has been a recent increase in the share of Meskhetian Turks in the population. Youths from Russian-speaking families prefer not to stay in the village. The village is remote from administrative centres. The use of the local resources (land) was traditionally accomplished most efficiently using a framework of large collective farms, which facilitated the adoption of technology and investments in irrigation and other systems. Today, small-scale private agriculture is heavily dependent on the organization of irrigation. The village of Novo-Ivanovskoye is populated by Russians. This is one of the relatively prosperous villages that has retained a collective farm system and takes advantages of fertile lands. It has stable contracts with large agro-processing firms. The village of Novaya Balkaria is on the plains. The history of this village is linked with the deportation of Balkars to Kazakhstan in 1944. Upon their return, a number of Balkar families appealed to the government for the allocation of land on the plains for their permanent settlement. This appeal was motivated by the shortage of mountain land when Balkars returned to their homes. In addition, many Balkars acquired new farming skills while they lived and worked in the virgin lands of Kazakhstan. Since 1958, the population of Novaya Balkaria has experienced a four-fold increase and today amounts to more than 1,200. In the 1970s, Meskhetian Turks arrived from Central Asia. Official and actual power in Novaya Balkaria is concentrated in the hands of an enterprising local administration head that has been the locally elected head since 1992. As a result of his efforts, a new school, hospital and kindergarten have been built and roads have been repaired. The village is fully supplied with natural gas, electricity, water, etc. Other formal institutions that are found in a majority of the sample villages include the Council of Elders, Women's Council and the Muslim community. Kabardian villages Stary Cherek, Islamey and Aushiger are located in a low area in the foothills with fertile soils, although the exploitation of these soils is restricted by the dissected relief. The villages’ locations near highways and their proximity to the centre promote the development of a commodity economy and daily commutes to work in the city. Stary Cherek is an old Kabardian village and is the ancestral village of many famous Kabardian families. A portion of the population works in the capital. This village has a relatively well-developed infrastructure (water and gas) and strong family and clan institutions that govern internal vil- Alexey Gunya, Timur Tenov, Murat Shogenov, Aslan Chechenov 50 lage life and maintain certain rules. These institutions are also responsible for the imposition of sanctions for rule violations. Note that the agricultural land is not privately owned, with the exception of vegetable gardens that belong to the line of settlement. The land is leased to individual owners at approximately the same proportion as it is leased to various corporations and businesses. Highest land use occurred during the 1970–80s; grasslands were maintained in the 1950s. At present, the area under pasture is reduced and the share of arable land is higher than it was during the period of maximal development. Islamei is the biggest village in the sample, with a population of more than 11 thousand people. This village lies along the Baksan Valley, and all of its land has been developed. A number of housing and communal problems that are inherent in large settlements, including water shortages, a lack of land for new housing, and insufficient kindergarten capacity, exist in Islamei. The favourable soil and climatic conditions are conducive to gardening. Aushiger is a large village with a developed horticulture. A number of people work in Nalchik. There is a shortage of agricultural land. Krasny Kurgan is populated predominantly by Karachays and has a favourable geographical position near Kislovodsk on the Kislovodsk- Karachaevsk-Stavropol track. Unlike many other settlements, Krasny Kurgan has experienced recent population growth (from 3,120 in the early 1990s to 4,100 people today). There are horse farms, many sewing workshops, and a number of tourist facilities. All of these facilities provide jobs, and the village’s proximity to Kislovodsk provides additional sources of employment. Krasny Kurgan has a large area of agricultural land, unlike other municipalities that used to have collective farms but whose lands are currently owned by the districts. Stanitsa Kardonikskaya is a large Cossack settlement located at the junction of slope lowlands and midlands and has significant potential pasture resources. In the past quarter of a century, Stanitsa Kardonikskaya has experienced an influx of Karachays. During the Soviet era, the population was employed in the industrial sector in addition to the agricultural sector, although the industrial sector has since fallen into decay. Zhanhoteko village is located on the border of the Balkar and Kabardian resettlement areas and is populated by Balkars and Kabardians. In the early 1990s, there were intense debates over whether this village belonged to the Baksan (Kabardian) district or Elbrussky (Balkarian) district. Before Perestroika, the primary village leadership position was held by the chairman of the collective farm (kolkhoz), and the second position was occu- Analysis of governance strategies in the North Caucasian republics 51 pied by the chairman of the representative body (selsovet). The latter position was held by a Kabardian, whereas the chairman of the representative body was a Balkar. A change in the leadership occurred after farms ceased to play a major role in Zhanhoteko. Today, the head of local administration is a Balkar and his deputy is a Kabardian. People live here primarily due to their land plots, the sizes of which have recently decreased twice due to the lack of land in this village. Most young people experience difficulties with employment. Khasanya is the largest Balkarian village in the suburb of Nalchik. Its proximity to the city of Nalchik combined with the advantages offered by a rural lifestyle and involvement in agriculture are attractive to its population. According to the majority of respondents, the main problem in this village is the shortage of land, including land for housing. Despite the high official level of unemployment, the standard of living in Khasanya is quite high. All of the necessary social and household goods are available here, and the area is characterized by high birth rates. Proximity to Nalchik and the developed public transportation also diminishes the likelihood of shortages of various goods and services. The population is actively investing in the education of its children, and one of its major expenses (after housing and construction) is additional private activities for children (such as sports and tutors). Young people prefer and have the resources to obtain education in the central universities of the Russian Federation, although many return to the village once they have completed their education. The reason for such significant investments in education is unclear because there are almost no fields in which to apply new competencies in Khasanya; perhaps education is a local symbol of prestige. Most residents align their life prospects with their families and close friends and rely on their own strengths. One of the main sources of income is garden land, particularly the keeping of livestock and growing fruits and vegetables. The population is growing rapidly, which creates a shortage of housing. Khumara is the highest village and is situated on the border of the Circassian lowlands and midlands. Deficiency of agricultural land and the absence of additional earning opportunities (in the Soviet era, jobs were provided by the mines and small industrial enterprises) lead to unemployment and out-migration. The village is gradually transforming into a cultural centre and the family “nest” for Circassians who come to Khumara on vacation or to take care of elderly relatives. Nyzhiaya Teberda is a Karachai settlement located on a transit route to Dombay. It lies in the shadow of many major development centres, including the district and agglomeration centre of Karachaevsk and recreational Alexey Gunya, Timur Tenov, Murat Shogenov, Aslan Chechenov 52 alpine centres. A deficiency of land for agriculture is prompting people to seek alternative sources of income. Elbrus is a large Balkar village in the highlands in the Baksan Valley. Tourism development in the past half-century has significantly changed the appearance of the village, transforming it into an urbanized locality in which the majority of the population lives due to the availability of services there. Agriculture is also greatly important to all of the inhabitants, including those who live in apartments. Agricultural production is currently increasingly used for the local tourism industry. 4.2. Comparative analysis of the key villages: actors, resources, institutions Actors at the local level The diversity of ethnic, cultural and natural resource conditions and of development opportunities are closely linked with the motivations and incentives of various actors to ensure their access to key resources. The main actors in most cases are the heads of the municipalities. In Novo- Ivanovskaya, the old Soviet practice whereby the chairman of the agricultural enterprise plays a leading role in regulating access to resources has been preserved because the existing chairman had authoritative support at the republican level and was able to resist innovations that would undermine his power. In areas where resources are scarce, no leaders stand out (Khumara). The corporate tradition of making decisions that do not affect the foundations of the rule of law is observed. In some villages, in addition to the heads of the local administrations, an important role is played by the district administration, which can intervene in municipal-level governance. In such cases, the head of the administration willingly becomes dependent on the relationship with the district administration and provides small transfers in exchange for benefits (Zhanhoteko). The important characteristics of the actors in this context are formal and informal leadership in the municipal administration; the system of actorsfunctionaries around the leaders (e.g., sponsors, authoritative figures, religious leaders, directors of schools and hospitals); and formal and informal links between the municipality and the regional managerial elite. Local deputies play a significant role in decisions regarding access to key resources. In most cases, these deputies have been elected through informal election procedures, and the deputy position is becoming increas- Analysis of governance strategies in the North Caucasian republics 53 ingly prestigious. Some deputies are also successful entrepreneurs who enjoy respect at the local level. In some cases, conflicts (for example, disputes over land or borders) can involve national actors and organizations that defend the corporate right of access to resources. The Balkar and Karachai national movements are very active in this respect; Cossack and Orthodox communities and associations of Meskhetian Turks are rarely involved in these conflicts. Key resources Land and government subsidies are the main livelihood resources. The value of land differs by village. In the mountainous Elbrus, the land is a market resource, and its price can reach several thousand dollars per hundred square meters, whereas in Ulyanovskoye, it is difficult to find buyers for land, and many sites are vacant. The commercialization of land and its introduction into the market depends on many circumstances. Demand for land can be enhanced through subjective factors, such as prestige or the desire for long-term capital investments (such as in the village of Elbrus). Conversely, demand for land can be reduced due to a number of ethnic and cultural factors that limit access to the land for actors deemed undesirable by the local community. Access to land that is not available for private ownership but is available on a rental basis is controlled by officials at the district level, although the local government exercises control in certain limited cases (for example, Novo-Ivanovskoye, Elbrus and Krasny Kurgan). In general, villages that maintain control over rental lands are characterized by strong local governance (Elbrus) or active leaders (Novo-Ivanovskoye and Krasny Kurgan). In Elbrus, for example, a land survey was conducted. Nonetheless, rules regarding lease relations are in most cases established at the district level, which also receives most of the taxes on land rent. Other popular resources include water (Ulyanovskoye), forest land (Nizhniaya Teberda), and even geographic location. For example, the favourable geographic locations of Krasny Kurgan and Khasania enable the diversification of resource use and activities and provide marketing advantages to these villages. Conversely, the remoteness and poor resources of many villages can result in their marginalization, making these villages dependent on public subsidies. Alexey Gunya, Timur Tenov, Murat Shogenov, Aslan Chechenov 54 Institutions The entire mechanism of vital functions and interactions among key actors in the current environment and the competition for scarce resources is based on existing institutions, including both traditional institutions that developed locally over many years as well as institutions introduced from external sources. Informal institutions often coexist with official state and local institutions, forming a kind of symbiotic combination of rules that allows the interests of the various actors to be satisfied. The failure to develop adequate monitoring and sanctions for noncompliance of certain state rules also reduces the effectiveness of state institutions. Government regulation is more significant in the Russian-speaking villages (i.e., Ulyanovskoye, Novo-Ivanovskoye and Kardonikskaya) and in villages where there is a shortage of resources (Zhanhoteko and Khumara). The regulatory role of the state is also obvious in Elbrus, which possesses resources that are strategically important to the state, namely, environmental and recreation resources. In most villages, access to resources and relationships both within the community and between the community and external actors are based on a combination of formal and informal rules. It is important to acknowledge the competition between federal republican and regional institutions for the power to regulate access to key resources. 5. Conclusion The comparative analysis of regional governance strategies and the communities’ responses to demonstrate that conflicts between the state and the local communities are closely linked to the centralization of power and its impact at the local level, the amount of subsidies received by the local communities, and government programs and innovations. At the local level, the differences between regional governance strategies are diminished. However, the severity of a conflict between the state and a local community may vary based on local conditions (e.g., geographical conditions, informal institutions, multi-ethnicity, the availability of resources, etc.). Note that these conditions do not affect conflicts in a consistent manner. For example, both homogeneous and heterogeneous communities may have identical responses to the usurpation of power, reforms and development subsidies. Both Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay-Cherkessia are characterized by cohesive communities in which many democratic governance functions are implemented, including intensely competitive Analysis of governance strategies in the North Caucasian republics 55 elections and independent decision-making regarding regulation of access to resources, among others. In both of these republics, there are communities in which any state intervention that diverges from local interests becomes gridlocked. Thus, federal government development programs aimed at a tourism cluster in the highlands of the Northern Caucasus have generated considerable friction between the local and republican levels. Those frictions were caused by conflicts over an important strategic resource, namely, land (e.g., the villages of Elbrus and Bezengi), and fostered increased civic participation (in the forms of grassroots protests, competitive elections and mobilization) and the formation of new institutional structures at the local level. In regions with low governmental efficiency and high degrees of corruption, subsidization has led to the development of “budget economies” on paper but not in reality. The success observed in the real sector of the economy in these cases merely represents a form of legalized budgetary infusions. Most local communities have adopted a strategy of adaptation and take advantage of state resources but steadfastly maintain the parallel coexistence of formal state and local self-government institutions. The contemporary governance system in the Northern Caucasus is a combination of practices both formal and informal and both traditional and innovative (Gunya et al. 2013: 172). Democratic procedures are included in the political system of governance based on the legitimate incorporation of “new” elites into the governing process. It is believed that this kind of hybridity is a temporary and transitional status and thus indicates political and socioeconomic instability (Nichol 2006). However, a permanent institutional hybridity would contribute to a certain level of stability and the survival of local and conservative social systems. Creating hybrid institutional structures is closely related to the need to resolve conflicts in a non-violent, regulated framework. In particular, hybrid institutions create opportunities for gradual – rather than sudden and less controlled – changes in the governance practices of the ruling elite. Of particular interest are contradictions between the established informal institutions developed by elite groups and the innovations promoted by the candidates from the business elites; the impact of these contradictions on the discourse regarding the relationship between state and society; laws relating to the emergence and development of social and cultural identity; and the development of an understanding of the necessity of civic participation. The essence of “governance” in the Northern Caucasus is successful conflict governance, accompanied by a vertical stratification of power, the delineation of leading actors’ areas of influence (both individual and Alexey Gunya, Timur Tenov, Murat Shogenov, Aslan Chechenov 56 group actors, including strategic groups), the formation of an elite and the creation of a mechanism for the appointment and confirmation of posts. 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The region of the North and South Caucasus is characterized by instability, conflict and governance deficits. In search for support “the region” is under European and Russian influence. For the EU this region is becoming more and more important due to economical as well as geostrategical considerations. Besides the EU is continuously attempting to promote democracy and human rights in the region. At the same time Russia is a central player in the region.

The book highlights conflict as well as challenges in this triangular relation. The key question is whether the triangular relations between the EU, Russia and the Caucasus will develop in a more cooperative or competitive mode?

With constribution by:

Michèle Knodt, Sigita Urdze, Uwe Halbach, Ghia Nodia, Alexey Gunya, Timur Tenov, Murat Shogenov, Aslan Chechenov, Tracey German, Birgit Wetzel, Chiara Loda, Elsevar Mammadov, Levan Kakhishvili, Aron Buzógany


Der Kaukasus ist charakterisiert durch Instabilität, Konflikte und Governance-Defizite. Bei der Suche nach Unterstützung gerät „die Region“ zwischen die Einflussnahme Russlands und die EU. Die EU gewinnt aufgrund von wirtschaftlichen und geostrategischen Gründen zunehmend Interesse am Südkaukasus, bemüht sich aber auch parallel um die Förderung von Demokratie und Menschenrechten. Gleichzeitig liegt die „Region“ jedoch auch im Einflussbereich Russlands.

Das Buch nennt die zentralen Konfliktlinien und zeigt die Herausforderung dieser Dreiecksbeziehung. Darüber hinaus werden Möglichkeiten, Ergebnisse und Grenzen des Einflusses der EU und Russlands im Nord- und Südkaukasus aufgezeigt. Die Kernfrage des Bandes lautet, ob sich die triangularen Beziehungen zwischen der EU, Russland und dem Kaukasus hin zu einem eher kooperativen oder kompetitiven Modus (weiter) entwickeln werden?

Mit Beiträgen von:

Michèle Knodt, Sigita Urdze, Uwe Halbach, Ghia Nodia, Alexey Gunya, Timur Tenov, Murat Shogenov, Aslan Chechenov, Tracey German, Birgit Wetzel, Chiara Loda, Elsevar Mammadov, Levan Kakhishvili, Aron Buzógany