Mairbek Vatchagaev, writing on the Jamestown Foundation’s Eurasia Daily Monitor:
Today, the northwestern part of the North Caucasus region (comprised of the republics of Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachaevo-Cherkessia and Adygeya) is increasingly becoming one large battlefield. An affluent resort area during the Soviet period, today the region attracts very few Russian visitors, primarily due to its instability. According to the most optimistic estimates, tourist traffic to the world-renowned ski resort of Dombai in Karachaevo-Cherkessia alone declined by 70-90 percent last winter (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, December 31, 2008), and the number of foreign visitors substantially decreased. The summer season is unlikely to bring changes for the better, as the entire region is affected by the large-scale military drills that were conducted along the length of the border it shares with Georgia. Russian First Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Kolmakov described the current maneuvers as the largest in the area since the Soviet Union’s collapse (www.skavkaz.rfn.ru, May 19).