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RFE/RL: Radicalization Splitting Society in Russia's North Caucasus

Author: Gregory Feifer
November 4, 2011

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Gregory Feifer discuses how government corruption and radicalization of Islam in the Northern Caucasus are deepening divisions in society and fueling violence in the area.

GIMRY, Russia -- The tin roofs of Gimry glint in the bright midday sun high amid the jagged peaks of Daghestan's Caucasus Mountains. Located on Russia's southern fringe, this isolated village of houses built on top of each other along a thin strip of land is accessible by a single narrow dirt road, mostly washed away by rain. It's so remote, children speak only the local Avar language and residents talk of "Russia" as if they're in another country.

Village elders sit on benches under houses' wooden balconies in the subtropical fall warmth. Their talk turns to how soldiers recently sealed off Gimry during a so-called counterterrorism operation that lasted almost two years. An elderly man with a white beard named Nabi Magomedov breaks down as he describes how it began. He says militants lured his son -- a prominent member of Daghestan's parliament -- out of his house by saying they wanted to talk.

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