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Russia

Vyacheslav Izmaylov
Novaya Gazeta

Elections in Dagestan are “pretty lively,” said Vyacheslav Izmaylov in Moscow’s Novaya Gazeta. The Russian republic bordering Chechnya has a tradition of candidates “shooting at each other, blowing each other up, stabbing, poisoning, or kidnapping each other.” The goal isn’t to out-campaign your opponent: It’s to prevent him from even taking part in the campaign. The recent election for Dagestan’s parliament was no exception. “It began, as usual, with small-arms fire and explosives” directed at the federal police. Local party leaders wanted the cops out of the way so the real battle could begin. A long-standing feud between two cousins, Magomed Aliev, the local head of United Russia, and Nukh Nukhov, of the Union of Right Forces, erupted into open warfare just days before the vote. The two men’s militias clashed on a mountain road, and Nukhov was killed. In any normal Russian province, such violence would cause the election to be delayed or even canceled. In Dagestan, though, authorities just shrugged. They “declared the campaign uneventful and the election perfectly valid.”

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