Friday, August 31, 2018

Chechnya Building Road into Disputed Territory Reigniting Conflict with Ingushetia

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 30 – Chechen work crews protected by Chechen armed forces have begun to build a road into a region on the border with Ingushetia that both republics claim, reigniting a simmering conflict between the two that has been going on since the two republics in the North Caucasus broke apart in the early 1990s.

            Kavkaz-Uzel reports that road crews from Chechnya “under the protection of Chechen siloviki  have begun to build a road in the border region with Ingushetia. The Ingush side asserts that the contracts have entered its territory and that Ingushetia had not agreed to the road. The Chechens say that the workers are building a road on the territory of Chechnya” (

                An Ingush social movement, Opora Ingushetii, says the Chechens are up to two kilometers into the territory of Ingushetia and that this is the latest in a series of incursions since Grozny adopted a law unilaterally defining the border and including within Chechnya Ingush villages which are properly part of Ingushetia.  

            The Ingush group calls on the Chechens to withdraw and on the Ingush government “to take measures” to prevent “such provocations in the future” as well as to seek compensation from Grozny for the damage already inflicted on Ingush lands. They also appeal to Vladimir Putin and his plenipotentiary to the North Caucasus Federal District to intervene.

            The Chechen builders with heavy construction equipment arrived in the Ingush village of Arshity on August 25, accompanied by “about 20 siloviki” according to Yakub Gogiyev of the Ingush historical-geographic society Dzurdzuki.  Ingush officials immediately told the Chechens that they were on the wrong side of the border, and work for the moment has stopped.

            Meanwhile, Ramzan Kadyrov’s press secretary said the Chechen contractors were on the Chechen side of the border and cited Kadyrov’s words that “we do not have any conflicts on the border with Ingushetia in connection with the road, we haven’t ever and there cannot be any.”  But that is a rewriting of history.

            Chechen forces have entered Arshity before, arguing that it is part of Chechnya because 98.8 percent of its population is Chechen. Grozny makes this claim on the basis of a 1934 map which Ingushetia rejected and because no demarcation of the border between the two republics has occurred since they split apart in the early 1990s.

            The Ingush side points to an agreement between Dzhokhar Dudayev, the first president Chechnya-Ichkeria and the first Ingushetia president, Ruslan Audshev about the border to support its claim, an agreement that was reconfirmed by Akhmat Kadyrov of Chechnya and Murat Zyazikov of Ingushetia in 2003. 

                “But already in 2005,” when he was Chechen prime minister under his father, Ramzan Kadyrov “first raised the issue about extending” the borders of Chechnya. This latest action appears to be part of his longstanding effort to do so.  (For background on that, see

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