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

1330 views


More Russian news

Brexit is not so dangerous, as it seems

Brexit is not so dangerous, as it seems

The will be no the "Domino effect" in the EU, as not so many people can afford to choose the British way

Armenian diaspora thanked Azerbaijanis for saving Armenian woman in Surgut

Armenian diaspora thanked Azerbaijanis for saving Armenian woman in Surgut

Some time ago an Armenian woman got sick at the festival of national cultures 'Inflorescence' in Surgut and representatives of Azerbaijan helped her, the chairman of the public organization the 'Armenian National Cultural Center …

Berdyev signs new contract with Rostov FC

Berdyev signs new contract with Rostov FC

Rostov head coach Kurban Berdyev has signed a new two-year deal to stay with the Russian club, the governor of the Rostov …

Georgian helicopters help tourists to reach border with Russia

Georgian helicopters help tourists to reach border with Russia

People willing to get to Russia from Georgia have been helicoptered by the Georgian police after a landslide blocked the only road linking the two countries, the Georgian Interior Ministry said. The Ministry said up to 60 people were …

Russian Finance Ministry: Brexit may affect indexation of pensions

Russian Finance Ministry: Brexit may affect indexation of pensions

The UK decision to leave the European Union increased the volatility in the economy and this factor will be taken into account when deciding on the indexation of pensions in 2016, the Russian Deputy Finance Minister, Airat …

Berlin urges Russia to report number of its troops

Berlin urges Russia to report number of its troops

NATO and Russia should exchange data on relocation and numbers of their military units, which would be reasonable, Germany’s Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said in an interview published in Bild am Sonntag. …

Rescuers find body of last missing child in Syamozero Lake

Rescuers find body of last missing child in Syamozero Lake

Rescuers found in the Syamozero Lake in Karelia body of the child, who was remained missing, the regional authorities' website …

Ukrainian border guards dissatisfied with  meticulousness of  Crimean colleagues

Ukrainian border guards dissatisfied with meticulousness of Crimean colleagues

The representative of the State Border Service of Ukraine, Oleg Slobodyan, told about the car queues that are stuck at the checkpoint ‘Chongar’ on the road to Crimea from Ukraine, because of the scrutiny, performed by …

Russian weightlifters may be left without  Olympics

Russian weightlifters may be left without Olympics

The Doping test B of a silver medalist of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, the Russian weightlifter, Apti Auhadov, gave a positive result, the head of the legal department of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), …

Mutko complains that Russian national team lacked dedication at Euro 2016

Mutko complains that Russian national team lacked dedication at Euro 2016

Russian football team lacked commitment at the European Championship, the minister and president of the Russian Football Union, Vitaly Mutko, said today on Match TV sports. …

more Russian news