The Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has visited the southern republic of Daghestan on a nationwide tour aimed at boosting public confidence amid signs of unrest over unpaid wages and rising unemployment.
Security was tight after two high-profile assassinations in the region. Special forces put on a well-publicised demonstration of control. Daghestan’s interior minister was gunned down last week in the region’s capital Makhachkala where a leading cleric – an opponent of religious extremism -was also shot dead in May. Medvedev has ordered the region’s prosecutor general to take personal charge of the murder investigations. Analysts say Moscow’s control over the mainly Muslim regions in the south could be undermined by the global economic downturn. As security in neighbouring Chechnya has improved, instability has worsened elsewhere in the Caucasus where poverty has provided a fertile recruiting ground for Islamist militants and rebels.