Putin Replaces Leader of Volatile Caucasus Region
[An Nahar] Russia on Monday replaced the leader of Dagestan, a volatile region in the Northern Caucasus where federal forces are struggling to contain a growing Islamist insurgency fueled by corruption and poverty.
President Vladimir Putin relieved Dagestani leader Magomedsalam Magomedov of his post and appointed ruling party lawmaker Ramazan Abdulatipov acting head of the region on the shores of the Caspian Sea, the Kremlin said in a statement.
The Kremlin said Magomedov, 48, had left the post of "his own volition", but experts say he was forced out of the job he had held since 2010.
Observers say Magomedov, the son of former Dagestani chief Magomedali Magomedov, had been seen as a weak leader who was unable to bring about order in the region.
Grigory Shvedov, editor of the Kavkaz Uzel (Caucasian Knot) online news site, said violence and corruption went unchecked during Magomedov's reign.
"The amount of bribes has dramatically increased over the past years," Shvedov told AFP.
That sentiment was echoed by Gadzhimurad Omarov, head of the regional branch for leftist political party A Just Russia, who said resentment against Magomedov ran deep in the region of nearly three million.
Posted by: Fred 2013-01-29