Said Amirov: more than a mayor



The mayor of Makhachkala, Said Amirov, is well-known as a strict city administrator and one of the most important politicians in the North Caucasus. Did he play his main role in the 1990-2000s? Or will he play it in the future? There are no answers to these questions. However, he has influenced the modern history of Dagestan and Russia. There were various scenarios of developments in the east Caucasus – from attempts to separate Dagestan to the dissolution of the republic.

Said Amirov was born in the small Dargin village of Dzhanga-Makhi in central Dagestan. Many Dagestani politicians, officials and businessmen are natives of the region, including Magomedsalam Magomedov. Amirov began his career in the early 1970s in the system of customers’ cooperation of Dagestan. Since 1991 he has been deputy chairman of the government of Dagestan, in 1998 he gained more than 70% of teh votes in the mayoral elections in Makhachkala.

Dagestan had never elected the head of the republic in the post-Soviet period. The elections for the mayor of the republic’s capital became the first public elections. Competition was tough. Amirov was supported by representatives of various ethnic diasporas of Makhachkala. Many heads of municipal unities were supporters of Amirov. He united heads of other municipalities into the Local Authorities Union.

To understand the importance of the structure, the political structure of the republic should be understood. Specific branches of power are ruling clans in Dagestan. There are more than three such branches of power in the republic. It is no perfect structure of administration, but in the context of the 1990s and the growth of national movements it was the only state core at that moment. In the last 20 years Dagestan has been in a situation of war between clans. Amirov managed to unite the heads of municipalities independently from ethnic, territorial and clan origin. The Local Authorities Union supported a fragile balance between elites, clans and new national leaders. The cold war between ethnic-clan groups could turn into an inter-ethnic conflict. The political union of municipalities balanced the system and many didn’t like Amirov’s mission – in 10 years he survived a dozen attempts on his life.

In 1998 the ethnic-clan balance was almost broken – Dagestan could have been involved in a war. Supporters of the leaders of the Laks national movement of the Khachilayev brothers captured the White House, the building of the Dagestani government. Many bureaucrats and Chechen separatists supported the Khachilayevs. When an armed crowd went to the Mayor’s office, it had been surrounded by supporters of Amirov. One shot and two armed groups (thousands of people) could have killed each other on Makhachkala Square. But it didn’t happen. Magomedsalam Magomedov saved the situation, he made Khachilayev brothers leave the government building and take away their supporters.


In the early 2000s Makhachkala began to be reconstructed. It resembled a post-war city. For several years a confrontation had been ongoing on moving a huge spontaneous market in the center of the city.

Of course, not all the problems could be solved at once. Due to intensive migration from mountain regions, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, the growth of Makhachakala’s population was higher than the pace of reconstruction of infrastructure.

In 2008 an energy crisis appeared in Makhachkala. The growth of energy demand led to old electricity networks breaking. In winter electricity was cut in many districts of Makhachkala. The republican authorities criticized Makhachkala’s administration for it. Representatives of the electricity company and the authorities of the republic demanded they be given the electricity networks of Makhachkala in exchange for writing off the city’s debts. But the city didn’t recognize such a huge debt. Legal procedures were launched. As a result, the administration of Makhachkala kept the electricity networks and turned them into a joint-stock company for investment. Today there are no problems with electricity in the city.


Amirov has working relations with the republican authorities and says he wants to make Makhachkala and Dagestan independent from federal grants. He urges the heads of regions and cities to cooperate with the police in fighting extremism and terrorism: “People die because we don’t work together.”

Musa Musayev, Makhachkala. Exclusively to VK

3295 views


More Russian news

Jazz musician Arturo Sandoval gives performance at Sochi festival

Jazz musician Arturo Sandoval gives performance at Sochi festival

In Sochi, a ten-time winner of the Grammy award,  American jazz musician Arturo Sandoval gave performance in the framework of the Winter International Festival of Arts. "We try to be more accessible, to perform for a wider …

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is anything but frozen

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is anything but frozen

Do Armenians really want to needlessly face the Azerbaijanis on the battlefield—alone?

Moscow platform ready for talks with SSCN, Qadri Jamil says

Moscow platform ready for talks with SSCN, Qadri Jamil says

The Moscow platform is ready to begin negotiations with a delegation of Syria’s Supreme Committee for Negotiations (SSCN) about a possible association, the foundation for this can be laid during the current round, the leader of the group, …

International Army Games to be held in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan

International Army Games to be held in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan

This year the International Army Games will expand its geography: China, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan are ready to host a number of contests, Russian Defense Minister, Army General Sergei Shoigu said. ”This year a …

Iran relies on Russia’s support in production of fuel for nuclear power plants

Iran relies on Russia’s support in production of fuel for nuclear power plants

Iran relies on Russia’s support in production of fuel for nuclear power plants, head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi said in an interview with ISNA on Saturday.   "In the beginning of …

Russian paratroopers to learn skydiving by using  3D-technology

Russian paratroopers to learn skydiving by using 3D-technology

This year, the servicemen of the Russian Airborne Troops will begin to learn skydiving with the help of 3D-technologies, the Department of Information and Mass Communications of the Ministry of Defense reported. The airborne servicemen …

WADA admits McLaren’s ‘doping’ evidence against Russian athletes insufficient

WADA admits McLaren’s ‘doping’ evidence against Russian athletes insufficient

WADA has admitted that Richard McLaren’s 2016 report on the alleged use of doping by Russian athletes is “not sufficient to bring successful cases,” the International Olympic Committee said. “At …

Russia to overhaul five military airfields in couple of years

Russia to overhaul five military airfields in couple of years

Russia’s Aerospace Forces plan to have five airfields in the country’s southwest and Far East rebuilt in the next few years, the forces’ commander, Col. Gen. Viktor Bondarev, said …

Russia wins 11 medals, Including 6 golds, on first day of Military World Games

Russia wins 11 medals, Including 6 golds, on first day of Military World Games

The Russian team won 11 medals, including six gold ones, on the first day of the third Winter Military World Games, the competition’s press center informed journalists, Sputnik reports. "On the first competition day …

3rd Winter World Military Games kick off in Sochi

3rd Winter World Military Games kick off in Sochi

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev declared the 3rd Winter World Military Games in the Russian Black Sea resort open at a gala ceremony at Sochi’s Ice Cube stadium. "Dear participants and guests! I declare the 3rd 2017 …

more Russian news