Staunton, October 25 – As announced earlier, the Constitutional Court of Ingushetia held a hearing today on the legality of the way in which the agreement between Yunus-Bek Yevkurov and Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov about the border agreement was reached and then subject to ratification. The court said it would need several more hearings before rendering a verdict (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/327132/ and newsru.com/russia/25oct2018/ingushetia.html).
The suit challenging the agreement was brought by 12 of the 31 members of the republic parliament, more than the one-third needed to do so; and both sides appear to be confident that the court will rule in their favor. On the one hand, the court itself is part of Yevkurov’s administration and is likely to approve what he has done.
But on the other, the chief judge has criticized Yevkurov’s handling of the agreement and especially the republic head’s decision to have the Popular Assembly ratify it rather than treat it as an executive agreement or subject it to a referendum as the republic constitution explicitly requires of any border adjustments.
That the court did not quickly hand down a decision means either that the judges have not been able to reach one quickly – a possibility that gives Yevkurov’s opponents hope – or that the judges are doing what the republic head wants and drawing out the process in the expectation that the protesters will get tired or will come around to his position.
Other Ingush-related developments over the last 24 hours included:
· Yevkurov and representatives of his administration continued to hold meetings across Ingushetia to try to sell the border accord. In some places, the force structures had to intervene to keep opponents from speaking, an indication that so far the republic head has not had much success in that regard (interfax-russia.ru/South/news.asp?sec=1671&id=977688 and bison-info.pro/protesty-v-ingushetii-2018-shodki/).
· Chechnya’s Kadyrov meaning demanded that an Ingush elder, Akhmed Barakhoyev, appear before a shariat court for his criticism of the border accord and Grozny’s role in it (grani-ru-org.appspot.com/Politics/Russia/Regions/m.273480.html).
· Beslan Uspanov, the editor of the Kavkazskaya politika portal, says that Yevkurov remains in a state of shock that the Ingush people should have risen in protest against his decision to sign a border agreement with Kadyrov. But he shouldn’t have been, the specialist on the North Caucasus says, because in Ingushetia everything is about land and who controls it (realnoevremya.ru/articles/117887-intervyu-belana-uspanova-o-volneniyah-v-ingushetii).
Looking forward, Ingush people expect that there will be another massive gathering in the main square of Magas tomorrow for Friday prayers, the result of growing cooperation between the Sufis and Salafis who in the past have often refused to cooperate with one another (islamio.ru/news/policy/predstaviteli_razlichnykh_musulmanskikh_obshchin_zabyli_o_raznoglasiyakh_radi_obshchego_namaza_v_mag/).
Russian analyst Daniil Kotsyubinsky argues that the Ingush will be able to “outplay” the Kremlin and secure the cancellation of the border accord but only under one condition: They must maintain tight discipline and not take any steps which would give the Russian Guards or other siloviki an excuse to crush the protest (gorod-812.ru/sumeyut-li-ingushi-pereigrat-kreml).
Unfortunately, he continues, that is going to be hard over the next week: the Ingush congress scheduled to open on October 30 is going to take place on the latest anniversary of the 1992 tragedy between the Ingush and the Ossetians and emotions will be running high. Indeed, he suggests, the timing of the meeting may not be a coincidence at all.
And possibly adding fuel to the fire are plans to hold an online discussion October 29 about the ways in which the mental maps of the peoples of the North Caucasus and not just the Ingush seldom correspond with the officially approved cartography, a discussion that could lead even more people in the region to think about protesting (kavkaz-uzel.eu/blogs/1927/posts/35045).
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