Thursday, November 29, 2018

St. Petersburg Residents Back Ingushetia in Order to Defend Federalism for All

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 28 – The organizers and participants in the small St. Petersburg demonstrations the last two days in support of Ingush opponents of the border accord concluded in September by Yunus-Bek Yevkurov and Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov were not members of the small Ingush diaspora there but Russians committed to civil society and federalism.

            The police arrested and then released nine protesters. One, Olga Smirnova of Petersburg Solidarity, said backing of the Ingush position was a matter of principle: “Russia must really be a federal state.” She carried a poster reading: “Ingush: Petersburgers are With You!” (, and

            What makes this development important is that it suggests that concerns about the Ingush events are resonating not just with other peoples in the North Caucasus but with ethnic Russians far from that region and that federalism is something some Russians are prepared to come into the streets to support, a position not always in evidence among Russian opposition groups.

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