Staunton, May 14 – Many Ingush, convinced that Moscow does not have their interests at heart, are alarmed by reports that Arkhangelsk Oblast and Nenets Autonomous District may be combined into a single federal subject and view that amalgamation as a dangerous precedent that could end with the disappearance of Ingushetia as a republic.
According to Portal Six commentator Akhmed Bzurtanov, Moscow’s support for Chechnya’s acquisition of 10 percent of Ingushetia a September 2018 deal with former republic head Yunus-Bek Yevkurov points in that direction as does the fact that the current head, Makhmud-Ali Kalilmatov has staffed the republic with outsiders who don’t care about it.
Now, as a result of Moscow’s hostility and Kalimatov’s failure to defend Ingushetia, they say, the republic is on the brink of collapse with coronavirus cases and deaths multiplying (35 have now died (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/349608/) and the economy at a standstill, Moscow may decide to eliminate Ingushetia once and for all (6portal.ru/posts/калиматов-и-его-варяги-ведут-ингушети/).
Kalimatov may play the role of a transitional leader, Bzurtanov says. Since being appointed, he has shown himself “hostile to the values and the interests of the Ingush people and his complete dependence on outside forces which consider the republic’s religion and culture as a threat to themselves.”
Although the commentator does not say with what other republic Ingushetia might be combined, the obvious one is Chechnya. That would restore a Chechen-Ingush republic that in reality would be Greater Chechnya, something Kadyrov wants, Moscow can’t or won’t oppose, and that would threaten the future of the Ingush people.
How strong these fears are or will become is impossible to say; but if Ingush activists conclude that Moscow and Magas plan to do away with Ingushetia, they will certainly protest. Moscow certainly knows that, and events over the last few days suggest that the central government is now prepared to use its military and police power to crush the republic.
A major counter-terrorism exercise has begun in Ingushetia, and Ingush have been told to stay out of the forests where it is going on. Given Putin’s “hybrid” approach, it is not unreasonable for Ingush to conclude that the Kremlin plans to use this as a cover for a move to demolish the republic (capost.media/news/obshchestvo/in-ingushetia-the-fsb-has-banned-local-residents-temporarily-to-see-the-forest/).