In Russian-controlled North Caucasus, the policy of the federal government to promote religious leaders who would support its policies, regardless of qualifications and reputation, is increasingly seen as backfiring, writes Valery Dzutsev in the March 25 issue of North Caucasus Weekly, a newsletter published by the U.S.-based, conservative Jamestown Foundation.
The muftis of Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachaevo-Cherkessia and North Ossetia were elected around mid-March, apparently under close government control. Official clergy seems to be estranged from believers in the North Caucasus more than in any other place in the Russian Federation. They lack authority and are perceived as government tools.
While promoting docile figures was expected to help stabilize the area, this policy seems to have exactly the opposite effect and makes believers resent government attempts to control religious life.
(The Jamestown Foundation, http://www.jamestown.org/)