Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Ingush Demonstrators Suspend Active Protest Until October 31

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 17 – Declaring that staying in the Magas square any longer would be counterproductive, the leaders of the Ingush protest against the border accord with Chechnya sent their people home after the square was cleaned up and promising to resume protests on October 31 when a Congress of the Ingush People will be convened.

            They appear to have taken this decision for two reasons. On the one hand, the republic government’s authorization for protest meetings ended today; and on the other, the authorities agreed to allow new protests from October 31 through November 2 ( and

There thus appears to have been some behind the scenes contacts between the protesters and the government of Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, which also resulted in a declaration by the republic interior ministry that it would not disperse the demonstrators by force and denounced as false reports that its officers would stand aside to allow outside siloviki units to do that.

When the protests resume on October 31, demonstration leaders said they would begin by honoring the victims of the Ossetian-Ingush conflict, something that will further inflame public opinion among the Ingush (

Meanwhile, both Yevkurov and Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov refused to meet protester demands that the border accord they signed at the end of September be annulled or at least subject to a referendum as the constitutions of their republics and Russian law requires.

Yevkurvo said that the agreement on the border had been required so as to avoid any violent conflict between the two republics (, and Kadyrov, in excelsis, said the border accord was now in force and that he had directed his government to build a road up to the new border (

Political analysts said that Yevkurov’s conversation with Vladimir Putin had not clarified the Kremlin’s position but rather highlighted divisions in Moscow over what to do (, while legal specialists argued that the Russian Federation Council has no role in approving the measure ( and

Even with this time out, it remains unclear what will happen next, either in the two weeks before the protests are slated to resume or after that time.  As one close observer of the region, Natalya Zubarevich of Moscow State University put it, there is today no obvious compromise that Yevkurov and the protesters could both accept.

That suggests that there still ay be only two means of resolving the dispute – either with extensive talks “or with tanks” (

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