Friday, May 3, 2013

Window on Eurasia: Ingushetia’s Bloggers Polled on Chechen Incursion, Republic Leadership

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 3 – Forty-four bloggers in Ingushetia have expressed their views on the Chechen incursion into their national territory and other regions events in that North Caucasus republic, an intriguing measure of the views of a group that not only reflects public opinion but is increasingly helping to shape opinion there.

            Two weeks ago, one of their number asked the bloggers of Ingushetia to weigh in on a questions that he and clearly they feel are important ( Forty-four of them responded. Their answers and their LiveJournal URLs have now been posted at

            According to this compilation, 89 percent of the bloggers “extremely negatively” and nine percent “negatively” condemned the incursion of 300 Chechen siloviki into Ingush territory, equal to the 84 percent who “extremely negatively” and 14 percent “negatively” assessed Chechen claims against their republic.

            With regard to the actions of their own republic leaders, 42 percent of the bloggers had a negative reaction to that. Twenty-eight percent were positive, and 28 percent refrained from expressing an opinion.

            Concerning the recent Ingush congress, 71 percent of the bloggers said that it was not representative of the population with 55 percent saying that they did not recognize it as a legitimate meeting. Some 68 percent said it did not reflect the interests of the people of Ingushetia. Thirty percent were unwilling to give an opinion, and only two percent were positive.

Sixty percent of the bloggers did agree with the decision of the congress to keep the borders of Ingushetia where they are now, but “almost 90 percent” of them rejected doing away with direct elections of the republic head. Ninety-three percent favored such elections, and 88 percent rejected the idea that the Ingush are not capable of holding them now.

Were direct elections to be held, 37 percent said they would vote for former republic leader R.S. Aushev, 14 percent for current headYevkurov, with the remainder scattered among other possibilities. Seventy-five percent said they disliked Yevkurov because he does what the Kremlin wants rather than what the Ingush people do.

Forty-four percent of the bloggers said that Yevkurov was unlikely to remain in office until the end of his term, but another 40 percent said they hoped he would. Seventy-five percent added that they agreed with the notion that Ingushetia is “tired” of being run by siloviki and needed “high class managers” instead.

In presenting these results, the organizer of the blogger poll suggested that the clear position of the bloggers on many issues shows just how out of touch the leaders of the republic are regarding key issues and that they need to pay more attention to these and other such surveys in designing their policies.

            For outside observers, that is an important reflection. But even if the leaders ignore these polls, those who want to understand the region must not.  Ever more North Caucasus republics have an active blogosphere – some of the governments have even sought to promote it – and the Ingushetia blogger poll is a harbinger of an important new source of information.

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