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.
Authorities in Kabardino-Balkaria have been promoting ambitious plans to kickstart the republic’s industry with a new hydrometallurgical plant. But for ‘environmental reasons’, and supposed archaeological discoveries at the site, the plans — the estimated cost of which had began to spiral — may now be permanently on ice.
A rights group in Kabardino-Balkaria is putting a former Soviet era official, who was executed for crimes he was later acquitted for back on trial. According to recent claims, Betal Kalmykov committed crimes against humanity as leader of Kabardino-Balkaria.
Following a wave of criticism, Russia’s Federal Service for Supervision in Education and Science (Rosobrnadzor) in Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay–Cherkessia and the republics’ ministries of education will recheck the results of school leaving exams for graduates who received gold medals, as a disproportionate number were awarded there. The results will be announced by the end of this month, state-run news agency RIA Novosti reported.
Law enforcement agencies in Kabardino-Balkaria have uncovered the theft of money from the federal budget allocated for construction of facilities for the republic’s prison system. A criminal case has been initiated against one of the heads of the local Federal Penitentiary Service and the deputy director of a construction company.
The media in Kabardino-Balkaria parrots an extremely rosy picture of the republic. However, journalists and activists almost all admit privately — that with an eye towards the Kremlin (and Kadyrov’s growing army next door in Chechnya) — freedom of speech has been utterly decimated, and controversial topics go completely unreported.
The twenty-first May marked the anniversary of the symbolic end of the 1817–1864 Russian conquest of the Caucasus, which resulted in the Russian annexation of the North Caucasus and the ethnic cleansing of Circassians, the majority of whom were either killed or deported to the Ottoman Empire.
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.