Mothers of the Disappeared

“Here’s a future suicide bomber,” Gasan mutters under his breath so the woman can’t hear. “If she doesn’t get anywhere, she’ll blow herself up in front of a government building.”

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Russia’s Highlanders Explained

“We may share a common language with Russians, but our ethno-psychology is different,” says Zaur Gaziyev. “The free spirit lives on in the people. We didn’t have 600 years of serfdom like Russia did.”

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Dear Ramzan Kadyrov

How do you get an interview with the warlord of Chechnya? The best bet for catching Ramzan Kadyrov is just to show up on his own turf, announce your presence and hope for the best.

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Age of Empires

Even though both his grandfathers died in Bolshevik captivity, Ilyas Kayayev can’t say Russian rule has been bad for Dagestan on the whole: “What’s the point of being independent and sitting in a cave?”

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Welcome to Makhachkala

Government officials and policemen are the targets of attacks, though innocent bystanders also get caught in the crossfire. Strashno – it’s terrible, Arslan says, especially if you have children.

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Aboard Dagestan Airlines Flight 372

Dagestan Airlines Flight 372 is a Tupolev-154 which hasn’t seen a redesign since the 1970s. I get a window seat in row 31, where I can put up my legs on a hump that covers the landing gear. The only advantage of my seat is that I’m next to an emergency exit.

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