Politics, conflicts and pastoral land use in the post-Soviet era: the Republic of Dagestan
(New Economic School)
Paper short abstract:
The proposed paper analyses the political rhetoric on the issue of land legally recognised as seasonal pasture in the Republic of Dagestan, one of the North Caucasus regions of the Russian Federation. This land is at the centre of resource, administrative and ethnic conflicts.
Paper long abstract:
The proposed paper analyses the political rhetoric on pastoral land use and tenure in the Republic of Dagestan, one of the North Caucasus regions of the Russian Federation. "The land for seasonal grazing" - a legally determined category of land - is the legacy of the Soviet institutional framework. In the Soviet period these significant plots on the plain were recognised as winter seasonal pastures of the collectives located in the mountains. Today these territories, populated by migrants from the mountains, are utilised for year-round grazing, agriculture and residential areas. However, legislation regarding land use still limits the use of these plots to grazing and forage produce and so renders permanent settlements of the mountain migrants illegal. The land is at the centre of resource conflicts between the locals and the migrants while its status is actively manipulated by various actors. The territory itself spans two different jurisdictions, and thus is subject to the delineation of responsibilities between the mountain local governance and the plain district authorities. Its seasonal grazing status is used as an argument to support the claims of mountain communities. Using this same argument, the land has been recognised to be the property of the region, manifesting one more level of political interest. Furthermore, the varying ethnic identities of the local population and the migrants make the "seasonal grazing land" the subject of interethnic confrontation urged forward by ethnic elites.
Lost in mutation: pastoral development rhetoric of the third millennium (IUAES Commission on Nomadic Peoples)