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In the past week, Russian civil society has twice come under attack from violent Jihadists. First, a female suicide bomber struck a train station, killing 17 people. The next day, a second bomber hit, this time on a trolley-bus, the details and death-toll of which are only just emerging as I write.

In both instances, the perpetrators are suspected to be radical separatists from the perennially unstable Caucasus region. Their aim, established many decades ago, is to forcibly secede from the Russian Federation and form a Turkic Muslim state on its southern borders.

Russian policy on such groups has changed over the years, but famously became rather more certain of itself following the ascension to power of Vladimir Putin. Under Putin’s command, the Russian Air Fore reduced vast swathes of the Chechen capital to rubble. Needless to say, there is next-to-no chance the bombers’ wishes will be granted as long Putin remains in the Kremlin.

Hooray! then…. Well, maybe not.

If one looks at the future of Russian demography, with its shriveling Muscovite population, and most of its growth (and future human content) supplied by the regions discussed above, an argument can be made that Russia would actually be better off without some of these areas, at least from a perspective of culture and social-cohesion.

Russia is – after all – hardly lacking in territory. The cessation of Dagestan and Chechnya would be a small price to pay to prevent the Islamisation of a state with enough nuclear weaponry to fulfill some of al-Qaeda’s wildest fantasies.