Saturday, January 2, 2021

Ingush Officials Scramble to Prevent Blood Feud from Growing into Open Clash with Chechnya

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 1 – While most of Russia was focused on celebrating the New Year’s holiday, officials in Ingushetia were scrambling to prevent the declaration of a blood feud against two Ingush teips that has gained the support of Chechen head Ramzan Kadyrov from escalating into an open clash between the two Vainakh republics.

            That Magas succeeded in getting the two Ingush teips to back down from their earlier demands that Grozny provide evidence to support Kadyrov’s claims that the Ingush involved in an attack on a policeman in Chechnya were terrorists and that Chechnya return their bodies to their families is at best only a partial success.

            On the one hand, even without the response of the two Ingush teips, the family of the murdered Chechen policemen say they are going ahead with the blood feud; and on the other, many in Ingushetia appear upset the teips have backed down in what they see as an extension into their republic of Kadyrov’s demands for apologies from anyone who disagrees with him.  

            All this has happened over the last 72 hours. The basic chronology is this. On December 28, two Ingush men killed a policeman in Grozny. The reasons for their actions remain in dispute. The Chechen siloviki responded by killing both of them given that Kadyrov said they were terrorists.

            The family of the murdered policeman declared a blood feud against the two teips of the Ingush men involved. In response, the leaders of those two teips posted online a film clip making their demands. The Chechen authorities raised the stakes by saying they backed the family of the policeman.

            Then the two teips, after reviewing the video tape of the incident, withdrew their demands against Chechnya, an action beyond doubt that the Ingush authorities demanded given their fears of how Kadyrov and his regime might respond if they didn’t. As of today, the Chechen-declared blood feud remains in place, but the Ingush demands have been cancelled.

            Because of anger on both sides and because of the near certainty that the blood feud declaration will be followed by attacks on the two Ingush teips, this incident is far from over, especially given Ingush sensitivities about Chechnya, the border changes, and the way in which blood feuds can escalate as more on both sides are killed.

            More than that, this incident shows just how far some officials – in this case, in Chechnya -- are prepared to go to exploit blood feud rules rooted in traditional Caucasian law and how far others – in this case, in neighboring Ingushetia -- are prepared to go to prevent that from happening lest they and their republic become the victims.

            On this case, see among other sources,,,, and


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