While everyone in the States was busy thinking about/ignoring the debates, a Russian counterterrorism force launched an operation that resulted in 49 militants killed and 219 people taken into custody.
Russia Conducts Large Security Operation In North Caucasus – This looks like it was a huge operation, with RFE/RL quoting the Russian National Counterterrorism Committee as picking up 30 IEDs, over 100 weapons and 530 mines, rockets and grenades. The operation took place in at least three locations, two in Dagestan and one in Kabardino-Balkaria.
The US Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute also published a report, Russia’s Homegrown Insurgency: Jihad in the North Caucasus, that is some heavy, but worthwhile background reading on the issue. You can also have a look at CES coverage of recent skirmishes here. The SSI report is actually three papers that look at insurgency and resulting counterinsurgency campaigns in the Northern Caucasus. It deals with three main issues: the Islamist nature of the conflict, the Russian response, and the implications of the conflict, which is rarely reported on in the West (which the report and Foreign Policy have pointed out).