The Republic of Dagestan is one of the 85 federal subjects of the Russian Federation. It is situated in the natural resource rich (hydrocarbons) Caspian Sea region of the North Caucasus within Russia. Dagestan is the richest republic in terms of hydrocarbon reserves in North Caucasus. Dagestan’s geographical location is very strategic and significant as it lies at the crossroads of many civilizations, viz. Slavic, European, Turkish, Islam, and Persian. The republic is very crucial for the Russian Federation both for ensuring political and economic stability on its southern borders as well as for maintaining its influence over the large swathes of the Caucasus region, the West Asia and Central Asia. Since 1991, the North Caucasus region has been witnessing a string of violent conflicts affecting Dagestan. Thus, the region is attracting several external actors, like Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkey, US, and EU, who are interested in exploiting rich resources of Dagestan, and at the time time they want to see a peaceful North Caucasus region, in general, and Dagestan, in particular, for carrying out energy trade smoothly. Some Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) belonging to these external actors are also active in the region in this regard.
Therefore, this paper analyses the roles of all these external actors both as Russia’s competitor and as Russia’s cooperative partner. It also examines their roles in mitigating conflict in Dagestan, and Russia’s attitude towards their involvement in the North Caucasus region.