Friday, December 7, 2018

Russian Constitutional Court Overrules Ingush One, Rules Ingush-Chechen Border Accord Legal

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 6 – Today, the Russian Constitutional Court announced its decision on Yunus-Bek Yevkurov’s appeal of the decision of the Ingush Constitutional Court that his September 26 agreement with Ramzan Kadyrov on the border between the republics could not be considered legal unless it was subject to a referendum as the republic constitution requires.

            The Russian court held that the republic court had exceeded its authority in a double sense. On the one hand, the Russian body declared, there was not border to be changed: the September agreement established one rather than changed it; and on the other, a republic court cannot rule on inter-republic agreements (, / and

            The first of these arguments effectively negates the meaning of an agreement Ingushetia reached with Chechnya-Ichkeria in 1992 which had been relied upon since that time; the second drastically limits the authority of republic constitutional courts and may be the first step toward their abolition.

            The Russian court’s decision has been celebrated by Kadyrov as a triumph of justice and as something that will put an end to efforts to divide the “fraternal” Chechen and Ingush peoples. (Kadyrov had already announced he wouldn’t obey the decision if it went against him.) (

            The reactions of Ingush opponents of the accord have not yet been recorded, but they are certain to be less enthusiastic than those of the Chechen leader.  It is entirely possible that they will resume their protests or alternatively seek to undermine Yevkurov as he has discredited himself in the eyes of many Ingush because of his role in reducing the size of the republic.

                Meanwhile, Kadyrov took two steps which will likely affect this process: First, he called for eliminating all border posts among the regions and republics of the North Caucasus Federal District, arguing that they get in the way of cooperation among the peoples there (

            And second, the Chechen leader agreed to meet with Daghestan head Vladimir Vasilyev in a few days at which time the Chernovik newspaper says, the two are likely to “discuss the administrative borders of Daghestan” (

                That is a euphemism for the possibility of recreating a Chechen district within Daghestan, something Kadyrov favors but that Vasiliyev has not moved quickly to do – yet another indication that whatever Kadyrov says about borders, they matter and matter profoundly not only to him but to others in the North Caucasus. 

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