Staunton, October 31 – The World Congress of the Ingush People adopted a resolution calling on Vladimir Putin to annul the border agreement reached by Yunus-Bek Yevkurov and Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov on September 26, whose approval the Ingush Constitutional Court has now said violated the republic’s constitution.
Ingush representatives from other countries and other regions took the lead in pushing for this declaration, an indication of the caution that even those within the republic who have organized the protests in the past and the congress itself are now showing (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/327339/ and kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/327360/). One Taip leader in fact came out in opposition to such an appeal (vz.ru/news/2018/10/31/315461.html).
The Kremlin responded by saying that the issue of the border accord is now under judicial consideration and therefore Putin will not take a position. Indeed, the Kremlin leader’s press spokesman did not even indicate whether Putin favors a review of the accord by the Russian Constitutional Court (kavkazr.com/a/29574725.html).
Moscow’s reluctance to take a stand shows, some Russian analysts argue, that there are few good options available to it, given its desire to avoid offending Kadyrov. As a result, they say, the Ingush crisis is growing and will continue to do so until a final decision is made (echo.msk.ru/blog/oreh/2306019-echo/ and graniru.org/opinion/milshtein/m.273569.html).
Lawyers both in Moscow and Magas are now discussing the issue, with some wondering whether the Russian Supreme Court will review the accord at all – the court itself has not shown its hand -- and what precedents it might invoke if it does (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/327353/ and kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/327362/).
Meanwhile, today in Magas, the protesters assembled once again but then went home early. Some say that the group wants to focus on the courts, while others insist the protest was suspended for a memorial service for those who died in the 1992 border conflict (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/327358/, kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/327363/ and etokavkaz.ru/news/51293).
Three other important developments over the last 24 hours included:
· The Supreme Court of Ingushetia also took a decision that many will interpret as a rebuke to Yevkurov. It decided that the actions of officials against Ruslan Mutsolgov, a Yabloko member who has been active in organizing the demonstrations, violated the constitution (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/327354/).
· Chechnya’s Kadyrov has painted himself into a corner with some as a result of the crisis. On the one hand, he has offended many Ingush by his heavy-handed approach to the border accord. And on the other, he has angered many Chechens who do not view the Ingush as a separate nation and therefore believe Grozny should treat them with more respect (kavkazr.com/a/babayka-ramzan/29575083.html).
· Environmentalists are warning that the border agreement is already having a negative impact on a protected area given that Chechen companies are already logging areas that their republic has been granted and that this is leading to the destruction of critical environments (kommersant.ru/doc/3786328).
The fact that there is now a legal dispute has prompted the editors of the After Empire portal to suggest that Ingushetia is now in the midst of its own Maidan given that the original conflict in Ukraine was sparked by election disputes (afterempire.info/2018/10/31/ingush-maidan/).