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
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.