Sunday, October 6, 2019

Kalimatov Finally Takes Up a Political Issue – But Not the One Most Ingush Give the Highest Priority

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 5 – Since replacing Yunus-Bek Yevkurov as Ingush Republic head, Makhmud-Ali Kalimatov has studiously avoided making direct comments about political issues, preferring instead to talk about economic development. But now he has waded into politics with a defense of the Ingush language, an issue that most Ingush don’t assign the highest priority to.

            That may win him some points with the Ingush population which like other non-Russian nations cares profoundly about the survival of its language, but it is more likely to lead many of them to ask why Kalimatov hasn’t talked about two higher-priority issues, the border accord with Chechnya and the more than 30 Ingush activists now behind bars.

            In a speech on the Russian Federation Day of the Teacher holiday, Kalimatov said that “it is veery important to me both as the leader of Ingushetia and as an individual that our native Ingush language, poetry and prose will be used by out children because the status of a language depends on how the rising generation views it.”

“All of us must devote efforts in order to save it. Just as is the case with other history, our real history  and not one that has been rewritten but rather is part of the people and orally transmitted from generation to generation,” the Ingushetia head continued (

“We will forget nothing, but there exists certain issues and certain periods which await documentation. And with this goal in mind, we plan to shift the State Archive out of the Culture Ministry and essentially broaden the circle of its tasks and the geography of its activities as far as the collection of information is concerned.”

Kalimatov also took another administrative step which may suggest a change in the extent of his authority. He disbanded the republic’s National Security Council  and said that its functions will be fulfilled by an administration for crime prevention and an advisor to the head of the republic (

This change likely reflects the decline practically as well as symbolically of the republic’s control of security questions and the shift in such control to the federal district and federal forces in Moscow. 

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