Sunday, November 25, 2018

More than 200 Ingush Press for Referendum on Border as Republic Constitution Requires

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 25 – On Friday, as Magomed Mutsolgov reports today, more than 200 residents of Ingushetia met in Nazran and issued a call for a referendum on the September 26 border accord Yunus-Bek Yevkurov concluded with Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov. The republic’s constitution requires a referendum on any border changes.

            The activist says that “neither the Parliament not even more the head of the republic has the right to change borders and thus the territory of the republic without the agreement to such changes by the people. An expression of agreement by the population is possible only by a general referendum” (

                That view, Mutsolgov and the others at Friday’s meeting say, “has the backing of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Ingushetia” and also of “specialists in the area of constitutional law,” including professors, doctors of law, lawyers, and instructors of some of the best higher educational institutions of our country.”

            The meeting decided to appeal to the regional election commission to begin the process of holding a referendum.

            The timing of this meeting – three days in advance of the hearing in the Russian Constitutional Court scheduled for Monday about the border accord and the process of its approval – suggests that the Ingush activists hope that their proposal will affect the decision of the Moscow court.

             That is because any ruling in favor of the September accord would in effect overrule the republic constitution, something that could have a domino effect not only in Ingushetia but in other non-Russian republics as well. Calling for a referendum now may be designed to remind the court and the Kremlin of that.

             At the same time, however, this may be an act of despair given that many Ingush believe that the Russian court will support the September border accord lest a reversal of it offend Chechnya’s Kadyrov and possibly trigger a violent response by his people, something that could destabilize the entire region.

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