Local crime and international terrorism among main reasons for escalation of armed violence in Dagestan

(Caucasus Times) - A survey of the Makhachkala residents carried out during the early part of June by the correspondents of Caucasus Times, an information agency, shows that the population of the Dagestan capital connects the escalation of armed violence to both internal and external factors.

In response to a question about the reasons for the recent armed escalation in Dagestan, the people showed a rather broad spectrum of opinions. Thus, 30% of those interviewed see the roots of the current events in Dagestan in local crime and international terrorism; 25% mentioned the spread of war in the neighbouring republic of Chechnya; and the same number connected an increase of violence in the republic with the actions of law enforcement agencies. 23% of respondents think that the aggravated situation is a consequence of religious extremism; and 20% think the reason lies in disagreements between different nationalities. Only 6% were unable to answer this question, which indicates that most of the residents have a firm opinion regarding the reasons for Dagestan events.

Respondents demonstrated larger unanimity when answering the question about the most acute problems in Dagestan. An overwhelming majority (73%) listed social and economic problems (unemployment, low wages), as the most important. According to 63% of those interviewed, security is the biggest problem, including such issues as crime and terrorism. Only 16% consider disagreements between various nationalities as the most critical issues. In multi-national Dagestan this is quite an important indicator as it shows that the majority is much less preoccupied with this issue than with social and economic problems and security. Only 10% focus on religious problems and 4% mention the failure of authorities (the rule of clans, corruption).

Almost half of the respondents (49%) think that the overall situation in Dagestan will not change substantially in the near future. At the same time, their expectations are more pessimistic than optimistic: 28% believe the situation in the republic will soon deteriorate, while only 16% expect improvement.

There is a divergence of opinion about the consequences of elections whereby regional heads are appointed by the Kremlin. Nearly half of those interviewed (49%) stated dissatisfaction with the present authorities and feel this measure can stabilize the situation in the republic. However, 30% adhere to a completely different view, assuming that this will only aggravate the existing problems. A significant number (21%) were unable to answer this question.

Television is the main source of information although Internet’s popularity is increasing

In order to follow current events, most residents of Makhachkala watch television (72%), which considerably outdistances the news media (24%), contacts with friends and relatives (22%), the Internet (15%), radio (10%), international TV (9%) and international radio (1.5%). The most popular television channel was ORT, which was mentioned by 37% of respondents, while 30% and 28% respectively indicated RTR and NTV.

Euronews turned out to be the most popular international television program, which is used as the main information source by 7% of respondents. Most listened-to radio news broadcasts in Makhachkala are GTRK (5%), Mayak (3.5%), Echo of Moscow and Radio Rossiya (1% each). However, Radio Liberty (1%) and BBC (0.5%), foreign radio stations, were also mentioned.

Among the newspapers, Dagestanskaya Pravda (7.5%) and Novoje Delo (6%) were in the lead, way ahead of Moskovsky Komsomolets (3.5%), Nezavisimaya Gazeta (3%), Izvestiya (2.5%) and Kommersant (2%).

It should be noted that an increase in the popularity of the Internet is becoming a source of information and is increasingly replacing both international TV and radio. More men than women use the Internet in a ratio of three to one. The most popular news sites were RIA Novosti (5%), REGNUM (2.5%) and Interfaks (2%).

Regarding trustworthiness of information sources, it is television (52%), friends and relatives (23%) and the press (20%) that are trusted the most. Among TV channels, the greatest confidence is in ORT (27%), followed by RTR (22%) and NTV (20%). 7% have confidence in Euronews. Leading newspapers are Dagestanskaya Pravda (5%) and Novoye Delo (4.5%), as well as Moskovsky Komsomolets, Nezavisimaya Gazeta and Izvestiya (2.5% each).

The Internet (12%) and radio (11%) also enjoy a high level of trust of which are RIA Novosti (3%) and REGNUM (2%). Among radio stations, the most trustworthy are GTRK (6%), Mayak (2.5%), Echo of Moscow (1.5%) and Radio Rossiya (1%). Among foreign radio stations the greatest confidence is in Radio Liberty (1.5%) and BBC (0.5%).

Note: The poll was conducted in Makhachkala on June 3-10 and included 200 people (100 men and 100 women) over the age of 16. Two answers were allowed for some questions.

Charts (answers are in per cent):

Translated by Mindaugas Kojelis.




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