- Islam and Local Politics in Counties of South Dagestan under Governor Ramazan Abdulatipov (2013–2017)
- Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization
- Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, The George Washington University
- Volume 27, Number 4, Fall 2019
- pp. 497-523
- View Citation
- Additional Information
After the assassination of Sheikh Said-Efendi of Chirkei in 2012, Russia's security and law enforcement organs returned to the coercive method of anti-terror war and began to repress the moderate (non-violent) Salafis in Dagestan. This change coincided with the governorship of Ramazan Abdulatipov, who intervened intensively in local politics. The Dagestan Muftiate, guided by the ethnic Avars and Shaikh Said-Efendi's disciples, exploited this situation to expand their influence to South Dagestan. Based on county-level fieldwork, we identified three patterns of interaction of secular and religious actors in South Dagestan: the strongholds of the local Sufi order guided by Sheikh Sirazhudin and Isamudin, which survived Abdulatipov's governorship; the equidistant local religious regimes, which Abdulatipov overturned on the pretext of their tolerance towards moderate Salafism; and (in Derbent County) a three-way battle between Sirazhudin-Isamudin's order, the Dagestan Muftiate, and the moderate Salafis in which the first continues to dominate.