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Interview with Konstantin Kazenin

Konstantin Kazenin is the Editor-in-Chief of the 'Regnum' news agency. He spoke to RT about the clashes between militants and federal forces in Kabardino-Balkaria in 2005.

Russia Today: What was behind the attack on Nalchik in October 2005?  

Konstantin Kazenin: The geographical position of Kabardino-Balkaria makes it a natural  target for everyone who is opposed to Russia at its southern border. It’s in the centre of the North Caucasus. Constant instability in Kabardino-Balkaria implies instability in the whole Caucasus. But, unfortunately, that’s only one part of the story. If we think about possible reasons of the dramatic events [of 2005], we should remember the time of the 1990s when there were many different trends, many different groups in local Islam. And local authorities openly supported some of them and openly opposed others. It’s not obvious that all those groups to whom local authorities were opposed were supporters of terrorism, radicalism and so on. But this by itself increased tensions in local Islam. And most probably that’s one of the reasons that many young Muslims were influenced by radicals.

RT: What's been done to heal the rift between the different Muslim factions within the republic?  

K.K.: I don’ think that ethnic divisions were behind these dramatic events. I think rather these were divisions within Islam. But there’s only one way out – that is through dialogue. As far as I can see, the new President of Kabardino-Balkaria, Arsen Kanokov, at least tries to provide some dialogue in the republic. And we shall see what the outcome is.