A new president for the Caucasus Republic of Dagestan

Foreign Office should keep a critical eye on transition:

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) demands that the Foreign Office should keep a critical eye on the inauguration of the new president of Dagestan, Ramazan Abdulatipov. Abdulatipov is an experienced Dagestani politician who belongs to the Avar peoples. He was a member of the Russian Duma as well as the Russian Ambassador to Tajikistan for several years.

In the past, the Foreign Office has already failed several chances to advocate for peace in the North Caucasus. Therefore the STP sent a letter to Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, asking him to contact Abdulatipov. "Unlike his predecessor, Magomedsalam Magomedov, Abdulatipov is not entangled in the clan structure in Dagestan – and he is also fairly independent of those Dagestanians who are known as the key decision makers in business and politics in Moscow. This is why he is even more dependent on President Vladimir Putin than Magomedov ever was", said Sarah Reinke, the STP’s expert on questions regarding the CIS, in Berlin on Tuesday.

Nevertheless, the People of Dagestan hope that the change of presidency will make their republic safer, because it was shaken by terrorism and state counter-violence for years: The situation in Dagestan is close to a civil war. High-ranking representatives from politics, religion and society have been killed – the most recent victim being Magomed Magomedov, Judge of the Supreme Court – who died on January 15, 2013.

The severe human rights violations – arbitrary arrests, collective punishments for the relatives of suspected terrorists, systematic torture in detention centers, 'disappearances' and killings – must stop. Also, the perpetrators must be held accountable, or else the goal Abdulatipov stated before, to restore public confidence in the authorities, will not be reached. "This process must be critically observed by the Foreign Ministry and on a European level", says the STP’s letter to the German Foreign Minister.

Additional information (only in German) on the human rights situation in Dagestan can be found here.