News / Europe

Russia Wants Tourism, Not Terrorism, for Embattled Caucasus

Russia Wants Tourism, Not Terrorism, for Embattled Caucasusi
X
June 06, 2013 6:26 PM
Car bombs and shootings make Dagestan the leader in political violence in Russia’s troubled North Caucasus. VOA's James Brooke reports from Derbent, Russia, that looking to the long term, though, the Kremlin believes that tourism offers a way out for the impoverished North Caucasus.
James Brooke
Car bombs and shootings make Dagestan the leader in political violence in Russia’s troubled North Caucasus.

After Dagestan became known as the ancestral home of the two suspected Boston Marathon bombers, however, the world spotlight turned on this Muslim majority region - and Moscow started to take action.

Last week, in a surprise move, a military helicopter took to prison a man seen here as an untouchable warlord: Said Amirov, the mayor of Dagestan’s capital, Makhachkala.

The Kremlin wants to pacify the North Caucasus before the Sochi Winter Olympic Games are held next February on the western edge of the Caucasus Mountains.

Tourist haven?

Looking to the long term, the Kremlin believes that tourism offers a way out for the impoverished North Caucasus.

The potential is clear here in Dagestan’s Derbent, Russia’s oldest and southernmost city.

For more than 1,500 years, the Derbent fortress controlled a narrow strip of land between the eastern edge of the North Caucasus and the Caspian Sea.
 
“The people that live in Derbent are really proud of our fortress. And we are waiting for tourists. Bring on the tourists. We’re all for it,” said Shakmarda Mardonov, who works in the fruit market below the fortress.
 
Mardonov and others remember the Soviet days, when a quarter-million tourists came here every year. Since then, the fortress became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Violent reputation
 
Despite this honor, there are no tourists today for Abasu Shakalar Sanya, a city taxi driver.
 
“I said to my friends in Moscow to come down and see the sea and the fortress,” he said. “They said: 'No, they will shoot and kill us.' Have you heard anything like that here? No. It doesn’t happen here. We are friendly people. We love guests and tourists.”
 
A few blocks away stand the thick, low walls of the Dzhuma Mosque. Built in 734, it is the oldest mosque in Russia.
 
The mosque and the fortress are centerpieces for a project to bring one million tourists annually here by the end of this decade.

“We want more tourists and guests to come to Derbent," said Imam Magomedovich Yaraliev, mayor of Derbent and a former prosecutor. "We want to make friends and live peacefully. We want to develop our city.  We want to have one brotherhood of the people in Dagestan.”
 
In today’s Dagestan, the violence often seems endless. It is a flash in time, however, compared to the history witnessed by the ancient stone walls of the Derbent fortress.

Over the centuries, the fort changed hands from Persians to Arabs to Armenians to Mongols to Turks, until finally falling to Russians in 1813 - 200 years ago.

You May Like

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
June 06, 2013 9:58 PM
Why the mayor of Dagestan's capital was took to prion? Did he have something to do with Boston bombers? Thank you.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid