Saturday, October 6, 2018

Yevkurov Promises Not to Disperse Ingush Protest but Armed Units Reportedly Approaching Magas Square

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 6 – Thousands of Ingush protesting the border agreement with Chechnya continued their demonstration in the main square of Magas today, but what will happen tonight or tomorrow is far from clear, given that neither side appears willing to back down until it gets its way.

            Republic head Yunus-Bek Yevkurov for his part promised not to disperse protests for another week as long as they occurred only between seven am and ten pm, thus ending the round-the-clock demonstrations of the last three days (, but two developments raise questions about his commitment in that regard.

            On the one hand, more reports have surfaced that he is refusing to agree to the convention of the republic parliament despite the fact that a majority of deputies has asked for it to vote again on the border accord, which activists say was never approved in the first place (

            And on the other hand, there are disturbing but unconfirmed reports that siloviki units are moving armored equipment up to places near the square where the demonstration is happening, raising the possibility that the authorities – Ingush or Russian – may choose to use force or the threat of force against the demonstrators (

            Meanwhile, the protesters continued their protest in the Ingush capital and say they will remain overnight. They are buoyed by support from Ingush and others elsewhere as expressed online and by the fact they are being openly backed by the republic’s Islamic leadership (,,,  and

                The situation in Magas remains tense. It is likely that at some point in the next 24 hours, it will either ease if the demonstrators agreed to Yevkurov’s plan for a week’s worth of protests during daylight hours or be ended by the massive use of force, something that could trigger unrest not only throughout Ingushetia but across the North Caucasus as a whole. 

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