Russia: Ethnic Unrest


November 3, 2006: In southern Russia, ethnic violence between Slavs (ethnic Russians), and Caucasians (Chechens and Dagestanis) left at least one dead and over a dozen wounded. Police reinforcements were sent to the Volga river towns where the unrest broke out. People from the Caucasus have been fleeing to southern Russia, to escape the Islamic terrorism further south. This ethnic tension is felt throughout Russia, wherever refugees from the Caucasus have settled. It's nothing new, but has gotten worse because of the activities of Islamic terrorists in the last decade. 


Meanwhile, in Chechnya, a roadside bomb, made from a 155mm artillery shell, killed a policeman and wounded three others. However, in the last month, 300 of the Chechen terrorists have accepted the latest amnesty offer. 


November 2, 2006: Russia has threatened to double natural gas prices for fuel shipped from Russia to Georgia, if Georgia does not become more cooperative with Russia. This is a reminder that, while the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, many of the economic ties remain. And Russia still insists on calling the shots. 


November 1, 2006: Russia and the United States have agreed to more military cooperation in the war on terror. Details have been kept secret. 


October 28, 2006: Iran openly thanked Russia for preventing the UN from imposing sanctions. Russia, the major supplier of nuclear power plants to Iran, insists that Iran is not building nuclear weapons.


October 27, 2006: Having sold over a billion dollars worth of weapons to Venezuela, Russian arms salesmen have now interested Argentina. Russian defense industries are booming, largely to growing exports. Last years sales were over $6 billion, and that will be much higher this year. Russia is now the chief provider of weapons to developing countries, having passed the United States. Before the Cold War ended, Russia also led in sales to developing countries, but many of these deals were on credit to countries, like Iraq,  that were never able to pay. These days, Russia has much tighter credit standards.