Dagestan an autonomous republic has been part of many imperial states including Caucasian Albania, Persia and the Arab Mongol and Russian empires. Annexed by Russia from Persia in 1723, Dagestan formally became part of the Russian Empire in 1813 with the treaty of Gulistan..
The people living In the mountains resisted the Russian rule. This resistance movement was started by three persons namely Ghazi Muhammad, Hamzat Beyand Shamil who proclaimed themselves as the imams of Dagestan and Chechnya, After the surrender of Imam Shamil, Dagestan was ruled by the Russian military. In 1877, when Russia was at war with turkey, rebellions broke out in Dagestan and Chechnya. During the Russian revolution Dagestan was the scene of fierce fighting. Dagestan became autonomous republic within the union of soviet socialist republic (USSR) on January 20, 1921.
In 1990 Dagestan proclaimed itself as a sovereign republic within the Russian federation a move that was not recognized by the central government Ten years after the withdrawal of Russia from Afghanistan, hundred of Dagestani Muslims issued a statement declaring Dagestan as an independent Islamic state and pledged to expel Russian Infidels from Dagestani territory. Russia rushed its troops and deployed helicopters gunships to dislodge these freedom fighters who had seized a string of Dagestani village near Chechan border. Chechen authorities were blamed for training and infiltrating Muslim radicals into Dagestan. Dagestani radicals were led by field commander Shamil Basayer and Khattab.
Basayer became popular in 1994-96 war between Checnya and Russia in which the former suffered a humiliating withdrawal. Khattab, a Jordanian Arab is a veteran of Afghan war against Soviet Union in 1980. Both are reported to have been running the military Training camps inside Chechnya. There are multiple visions for the future of republic. The Dagestani population has been an array of political parties and agenda ranging from the creation of their own Islamic State to merging with other Caucasian states. The Islamic Dagestani party and the Dagestani groups both consider the enforcement of Shariah state inevitable. They are however opposed by many traditional religious leaders and educators. Other parties such as the Islamic renaissance and the Muslim brotherhood have proposed uniting with Chechnya. This would be part of larger quest to unite the entire northern Caucasus area currently under Russian control. A third political party like Muslim union proposed the establishment of signal Muslim State encompassing all Muslims in the northern Caucasus.
Basayer's dream was to fuse Chechnya and Dagestan into .an Islamic state he created the people's congress of Chechnya and Dagestan to evict all unbelievers. Shortly after the current rebellion broke out the Dagestani council of shura a pro independence group appointed him as their amir of war, But even though Basayer and his supporters. Have claimed victory over many villages and declared the council of shura, the precursor body to their new state, popular support has yet to come. The Dagestanis themselves have so far rejected the idea of being independent under a foreign presence, even if it is Chechen, Dagestan has a strategic value that Russia can not afford to lose. More over granting independence to Dagestan could send a wrong signal to the remaining Islamic republics currently under Russian federation control. Former president Boris Yelsin has already recognized the gravity of situation, who said, "Along with Chechnya, Dagestan is the most difficult region. We shall be able to over-come this problem gradually, with out haste, just as it was planned."