Staunton, January 6 --- Elders, imams, and relatives of the Timurziyev brothers who were killed by authorities in Chechnya after they murdered a Chechen policeman met with the senior Chechen officials and then the policeman’s family and agreed not to engage in a blood feud that could undermine relations between the two Vaynakh republics.
Since the crisis began, the Ingush teips have sought to calm the situation even as Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov has escalated it by denouncing the Chechens involved as “terrorists” and arresting several members of their families who were also in his republic (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2021/01/ingush-teips-seek-to-calm-relations.html and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2021/01/ingush-officials-scramble-to-prevent.html).
The Ingush delegation met for an hour in the Chechen parliament with its speaker Magomed Daudov, Mufti Salakh Mezhiyev, and State Duma deputy Adam Delimkhanov. The Ingush side specified that it does not support terrorism and doesn’t sanction murder. It also told the Chechens that this case should not be politicized lest that lead to broader conflicts (fortanga.org/2021/01/tejpy-ingushetii-primirilis-s-semej-ubitogo-v-chechne-policzejskogo/ and doshdu.com/v-chechne-proshlo-primirenie-semi-ubitogo-policejskogo-s-tejpami-ingushetii/).
The Ingush delegates also pressed for the release of the relatives of the two Ingush men who were killed after they had attacked the Chechen policeman. The Chechen officials said that could happen after an investigation was conducted, something that might last 15 days (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/358379/).
The Ingush then met with family members of the late policeman to express their sympathy and to say that they very much hoped that the tensions between the clans would ease, something that now seems likely.
The most noteworthy aspect of this entire situation is that the government of Ingushetia was not involved while the government of Chechnya dominated the situation from Grozny’s side, a clear indication that the teips in Ingushetia have assumed a civil society role while these groups in Chechnya, under Kadyrov, are not allowed to act on their own.
That the teips in Ingushetia have done so reflects both the weakness of the Magas government in the wake of the land deal with Grozny and the strength of these traditional elements of Ingush society and their readiness to assume roles that most analysts would expect only from NGOs. Their actions thus should prompt an expansion of the term civil society when it comes to Ingushetia.
At the same time, Kadyrov’s government in Chechnya has not allowed these groups to develop independently of the state and insists on making all the decisions for them. That may make the Kadyrov regime look stronger than the Ingush one, as it certainly is right now; but over time, it opens the door to weakness because there is nothing between Kadyrov and an increasingly atomized Chechen society.
As a result, just as is likely to happen in Russia as a whole after Putin, the departure of Kadyrov will likely open the door to chaos as there will be no one to pick up the pieces in the short term. If the situation deteriorates in Ingushetia, however, the teips and religious groups will be able to play a positive role, saving the republic if not Russian rule there.