While official statistics may say otherwise, many see unemployment in Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay–Cherkessia as among the worst in Russia. Deindustrialisation, social alienation, and local corruption have all played a part in the region’s stagnation.
Despite the appearance of antiquity in Kabardino-Balkaria’s clan system, they are less a part of Circassian culture than a product of imperialism.
An atmosphere of impunity and poor funding for schools in Kabardino-Balkaria has led to state schools being run as businesses, with a teachers making money at the expense of parents and their children.
Inhabitants of Kabardino-Balkaria who were subjected to political repressions in 1930s and 1940s believe that Russia is returning to Stalin’s era.
Around 1,000 Christian Baptists live in majority Muslim Kabardino-Balkaria. One member of the community, Chechen man Ruslan Osmanov, told OC Media about how his new-found religion helped him to find his place and to break with a life of crime and addiction.
Young people from Kabardino-Balkaria have increasingly been leaving in droves. They move in search of better salaries and living conditions. In their place, more and more foreign labour migrants are arriving, but not all of them are welcomed with open arms.
Officials in Kabardino-Balkaria are using a complex, illegal scheme to seize agricultural land from local farmers. These powerful and connected people are lining their own pockets, and in the process depriving farmers of their basic means of making a living.
There are more than 1,200 Syrian Circassians living in Kabardino-Balkaria. They came to their historical homeland to escape the horrors of war, but integrating into the local community is not easy.