Making and Breaking The Political Machine in Kabardino-Balkaria by Georgi Derluguian & Sufian Zhemukhov

Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization, 2013 (Vol. 21), No. 4, pp. 531–557

Georgi Derluguian, Professor of Social Research and Public Policy, New York University Abu Dhabi.

Sufian Zhemukhov, PONARS Eurasia Visiting Scholar, George Washington University.

Abstract: Three very different forces are contesting social powers in the North Caucasus republics: the ex-nomenklatura from the 1980s reliant on their administrative skills, insider knowledge, and patronage networks; political capitalists or “oligarchs” wielding the weapons of violent entrepreneurship developed in the 1990s; and the social movement of young Islamist zealots rising from the mid- and lower strata in the 2000s. While the fractured elites of ex-nomenklatura and violent entrepreneurs are common results of the Soviet collapse, in the North Caucasus the cultural legacies of Islamic highlanders provided the ideological framing, transnational brokerage, and action repertoire to the third force of antisystemic rebels. The stalemated triangular contention, however, is fraught with state collapse rather than revolution.

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