Image for Roubles and Radicals in Dagestan

Play now 25 mins

Roubles and Radicals in Dagestan

Duration:
25 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 24 November 2011

The main focus of the violence in the North Caucasus these days is in Dagestan, Chechnya's neighbour.

Shoot-outs between police and Islamist militants occur almost daily, and suicide bombings and assassinations have become common.

In response, the authorities use what many see as excessive force and the violence spirals still further.

In the past two years suicide bombings in the Moscow metro and a Moscow airport have been traced to the region.

In Dagestan it's a war that has touched almost every community and family, and one where differences between the opposing sides are apparently irreconcilable.

For the authorities, Dagestan is part of Russia and subject to its secular laws; for the militants the region should be a sharia state independent of Moscow.

After ten years trying to combat the militants and their appeal, Russian businessman Suleiman Kerimov has hit on a new idea - football.

Sports facilities and pitches are being built across this impoverished and deeply conservative Muslim republic, encouraging young boys and men to play on the pitch rather than join the militants in the forest, and girls to watch them instead of withdrawing behind the veil.

Dagestan's top club Anzhi Makhachkala has been bought up by the pro-Kremlin Dagestani billionaire and now he is buying world-class footballers, including Samuel Eto'o, currently the highest-paid player on the planet.

Lucy Ash asks whether this is just bread and circuses for the masses or whether it is making a real difference in this restive Russian republic.

(Image: A gunman. Credit: Greater Manchester Police)

  • Dagestani billionaire creates 'the Man City of Russia'

    Dagestani billionaire creates 'the Man City of Russia'

    "There will be new stadia, new infrastructure for the club, a new training ground, an academy for the kids. It will be a social lift for Dagestan. All these projects will change the lives of people in this region"

    Read more on the BBC News website
  • AFRICAN FOOTBALLER OF THE YEAR 2011

    AFRICAN FOOTBALLER OF THE YEAR 2011

    Andre 'Dede' Ayew, Samuel Eto'o, Gervinho, Seydou Keita and Yaya Toure are nominated for the 2011 BBC African Footballer of the Year award

    Cast your vote online now
  • Dagestan - the most dangerous place in Europe

    Dagestan - the most dangerous place in Europe

    "No place on earth is safe from terrorism. Today the Caucasus, Dagestan included, is of heightened interest to terrorist organisations and they try to spread unrest here"

    Read more on the BBC News website

Free downloads

  1. Image for Documentaries

    Documentaries

    An indepth look at stories and issues from around the world. This podcast offers you the chance to…

  2. Image for Documentaries 2007

    Documentaries 2007

    Throughout the week BBC World Service offers a wide range of documentaries and other factual…

  3. Image for Documentaries 2008

    Documentaries 2008

    Throughout the week BBC World Service offers a wide range of documentaries and other factual…

  4. Image for Documentaries 2009

    Documentaries 2009

    Throughout the week BBC World Service offers a wide range of documentaries and other factual…

  5. Image for Documentaries 2010

    Documentaries 2010

    Throughout the week BBC World Service offers a wide range of documentaries and other factual…

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.