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

1455 views


More Russian news

Oil prices decline

Oil prices decline

September Brent futures have showed a sharp drop on the ICE Exchange in London, dropping below $45 a …

Ankara: Putin and Erdogan may meet before G20 summit

Ankara: Putin and Erdogan may meet before G20 summit

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may be held in August before the Group of …

 Peskov: we hail IOC decision on Russian #039clean#039 athletes

Peskov: we hail IOC decision on Russian 'clean' athletes

The Kremlin welcomes the decision made by the International Olympic Committee to allow doping-clean Russian athletes to take part in the 2016 Summer Games, the Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. …

 Putin has no plans to attend Olympic Games opening ceremony

Putin has no plans to attend Olympic Games opening ceremony

Russian President Vladimir Putin does not plan to attend the Olympic Games opening ceremony in Rio next month, the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. "As I understand it, there are no plans …

Cavusoglu grateful to Putin for support during coup attempt

Cavusoglu grateful to Putin for support during coup attempt

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for full support to the Turkish government during the coup attempt. "Russia has provided us with complete and …

Russia intends to strengthen cooperation with LAS in fight against terrorism

Russia intends to strengthen cooperation with LAS in fight against terrorism

Russian President Vladimir Putin urged the League of Arab States (LAS) to fight against terrorism along the efforts for the political settlement in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and other hotbeds of tension. "This, of …

 Russian Central Bank prepares concept of Fund for banking sector consolidation

Russian Central Bank prepares concept of Fund for banking sector consolidation

Russia’s Central Bank has prepared a concept of the Fund for banking sector consolidation, the chairperson of Russia’s Central Bank Elvira Nabiullina said. "We have prepared a concept of creating such a …

 Dollar exchange rate reaches 65 rubles

Dollar exchange rate reaches 65 rubles

The dollar broke the barrier of 65 rubles on the Moscow stock exchange today for the fist time since June 27. The dollar exchange rate was worth 65.0325 rubles, the euro was worth 71.3225 rubles. The prices of Brent oil fell …

Ulyukayev and Zeybekci to meet in Moscow on July 26

Ulyukayev and Zeybekci to meet in Moscow on July 26

Turkish and Russian economic ministers Alexei Ulyukayev and Nihat Zeybekci will meet in Moscow tomorrow to discuss issues of bilateral economic cooperation, the press service of the Russian Ministry of Economic Development …

 Lokomotiv-Kuban headed by Greek coach

Lokomotiv-Kuban headed by Greek coach

Russian basketball club ‘Lokomotiv-Kuban’ will be lead next season by 49-year old Greek coach Fotis Katsikaris.  He coached last season at UCAM Murcia in Spanish Liga Endesa. The list of …

more Russian news