Monday, October 22, 2018

Ingush Elders Reportedly Back Border Agreement

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 22 – Moscow media report that councils of elders in Ingushetia and Chechnya have backed the border agreement that sparked two weeks of protests in Ingushetia, a report clearly intended to signal to the opponents of the measure that they are isolated and to put pressure on the Ingush Constitutional Court to support Yunus-Bek Yavkurov.

            These reports do not specify just which or how many elders have done so, raising questions as to whether such stories are based on only a handful of backers, a reasonable conclusion given that in Ingushetia, many taip leaders who form the core of such councils earlier opposed the border agreement (

                Meanwhile, media in the region played up two other stories also apparently designed to undercut efforts to keep the protest alive until it is planned to resume at the end of this month. The first talked about how Ingush and Chechens continue to exchange apologies for things each side said about the other during the protests ( and

            And the second about the discovery of weapons near Magas carried the implicit threat that the Ingush authorities backed by Moscow may even be prepared to suggest that the opposition has been preparing to launch an armed uprising, something that would cut popular support for opposing the border accord ( and

            Meanwhile, a survey of the situation by Moscow’s Daily Storm portal reached several important conclusions: first, most Ingush expected Moscow to intervene and solve the situation and are disappointed it hasn’t; second, Ingush believe that under the terms of the border accord, their republic has lost from six to ten percent of its territory; and third, many are skeptical about the ability of protest organizers to bring people back into the streets on October 31 as they have pledged to do (

                And Avraam Shmulyevich argues that there now remain “practically no doubts” that Moscow was behind this entire episode, hoping to set the stage for regional amalgamation and constitutional change; that the probability that the protests will resume has increased dramatically following reports of weapons seizures; and that the “Cossacks” demanding portions of Chechnya for Stavropol Kray are not genuine Cossacks but rather Kremlin “pseudo-Cossacks” who act only on Moscow’s orders (

            As he has earlier, the Israeli analyst insists that this entire series of events, from the signing of the border accord through to protests to now, is the work of Moscow for its own purposes and that Ramzan Kadyrov is not acting on his own but rather is playing the role the Kremlin has assigned to him.

            The Chechen leader may have some flexibility at the margins because of his services to Putin, Shmulyevich says; but he isn’t acting independently. There is a danger, however, that in playing this game, Moscow may have set in motion forces that it will not be able to control – and that the game it assumed it could win will backfire. 

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