New Book Traces Remarkable History of the Ingush National Movement Since 1956
11 – A new book, The National Movement of
Ingushetia, 1956-1973 (in Russian, Magas) by Ingush historian Nurdin
Kodzoyev, shifts Ingushetia out of the shadow of its fellow Vaynakh people, the
Chechens, and shows that in many ways, the Ingush were pioneers in the creation
of an effective national movement in the last decades of Soviet power.
was urged to write this book by Serazhdin Sultygov, a member of the Popular
Assembly of Ingushetia. According to Sultygov, the Ingush national movement
passed through three stages after the return from Central Asian exile.The first, from the mid-1950s to the early
1960s, as dominated by efforts to get the Soviet authorities to allow other
Ingush to return home and to restore the Chechen-Ingush ASSR Stalin had
second stage, in 1972-1973, involved demands by the Ingush for the return of
the Prigorodny district which was illegally transferred to North Ossetia at the
time of their deportation. And the third, from 1988 to 1992 was when the Ingush
restored their statehood within the USSR and then the Russian Federation.
these stages, Sultygov says, are reflected in the book.But the new publication devotes particular
attention to the national meeting which took place in January 1973, an event
important “not only in the history of the Ingush people but in the history of
the Soviet Union as a whole.” Under totalitarian conditions, people went into the
streets to demand their rights.
its historic significance, Kodzoyev, the author of the book says, “practically
nothing has been written about those events.” He thus took it upon himself to
gather all the documents he could and to interview as many survivors from those
times as he could find. His book and its illustrations are in large measure a
reflection of those efforts.
history of the 1972-1973 events says a great deal about the nature of the
Soviet political system and also about the Ingush approach to promoting the
rights of that people. As the book shows, Akiyev says, “everything began with
the letter of a group of communists sent to the CPSU Central Committee in the
spring of 1972.”
letter detailed the ways the party leadership in the Chechen-Ingush ASSR were
violating the rights of the Ingush and both the letter and spirit of Leninist
nationality policy.Moscow reacted by
sending a commission which expelled some of the authors of the letter from the
party but did not go further.
action failed to curb the enthusiasm of the Ingush for pushing their agenda. The
authors then sent a second letter to the CPSU Central Committee which was if
anything far sharper than the first, denouncing the leadership of the North
Ossetian and Chechen-Ingush oblast party committees for their “anti-Ingush
the second letter called for the return to the Ingush of all their territories,
the creation of an autonomous and separate Ingush Republic “not excluding the
possible variant of establishing and Ossetian-Ingush ASSR” rather than the
existing Chechen-Ingush one. This letter was hand delivered on a second
attempt, the book documents.
CPSU Central Committee told the authors of the letters that they did not
represent the views of the Ingush people. To show them how wrong they were, the
authors assembled in Grozny hundreds of Ingush, despite concerted efforts by
the republic authorities to block the arrival of Ingush from outside the city.
demonstrators remained in the city square for three days, but during this
period, there were no illegal actions by the demonstrators, “no anti-Soviet
statements.On the contrary, people held
portraits of Lenin and carried slogans praising the internationalist policy of the
communist party,” a policy they said the republic officials were violating.
officials decided to disperse the crowds not by police action but by offering
buses to take people home. Some left, but many did not – and they were subject
to the kind of repressive measures typical of Moscow’s approach to
demonstrators and the non-Russian nations to this day.
appearance of this book deserves to be widely marked because it shows two
important things. On the one hand, the Ingush will work within the system to
promote their goals as long as the system gives them an opportunity. And on the
other, they are sufficiently committed to their national agenda that they will
go “extra-systemic” if the system forces them.