Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Putin’s Recent Hands-Off Approach to Regions to Blame for Ingush Crisis

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 24 – Vladimir Putin made his reputation as a hands-on manager, quite prepared to intervene in any and all issues as a kind of deus ex machina capable of solving problems, but in recent months, the Telegram Channel Forbidden Opinion says, he has not been playing that role in the affairs of Russia’s regions and republics.

            And because that is the case, the channel says, problems that might have been nipped in the bud or solved quickly have grown into major conflicts. Among the most obvious example of such a trend is the way in which the border accord between Chechnya and Ingushetia was signed and then sparked two weeks of protest in Magas.

            If Putin does not get involved in such conflict situations, the Telegram Channel suggested, he will cease to be viewed as legitimate in the eyes of many; and at the same time, regional officials will act on their own, often in conflict not only with each other but with Moscow (

            Meanwhile, the last 24 hours have been full ones on the Ingush front even though there are no demonstrators in the streets and even though most Ingush are waiting for the hearing of the republic Supreme Court tomorrow which is to rule on the legality of the border accord and on whether a referendum is needed.

            Among the most important developments are the following:

·         Ingush leader Yunus-Bek Yevkurov told historians who specialize on the North Caucasus that he had not given up anything in the accord with Chechnya but simply restored the border to what it had been earlier (

·         Artmen Perekhrist, an advisor to Yevkurov, says that he does not expect any new unsanctioned protests in the coming weeks (

·         Masked and armed siloviki intervened to block Ingush elders from speaking at meetings that the Yevkurov government has been organizing to try to win support for the border accord with Chechnya ( and

·         A Russian lawyer says that the Ingush Supreme Court has no reason to insist on a referendum to approve the border accord between Ingushetia and Chechnya.  Such agreements are the proper function of the republic heads Dmitry Agranovsky says (

·         Denga Khalidov, vice president of the Russian Congress of Peoples of the Caucasus, suggests that protests in Ingushetia may spill over into other North Caucasus republics because all are concerned about the shortage of land given rapidly growing populations (

·         Konstantin Kazenin, a specialist on regional affairs at Moscow’s Russian Academy of Economics and State Service, says that in his view, the Ingush protests were “directed not against Kadyrov” but had more to do with problems inside Ingushetia itself, yet another effort to protect the Chechen leader from criticism (

·         More than 400 complaints have been filed with regulators about the way in which the Internet was blocked in Ingushetia during the protests ( ).

·         Experts say that Yunus-Bek Yevkurov is going to have to work hard to restore trust between his administration and the Ingush people, something that has broken down because of  the way in which he concluded the accord with Chechnya and the mobilizing effect of protests (

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