Friday, December 21, 2018

Opposition to Ingush-Chechen Border Accord Intensifies, Forcing Moscow to Respond in New Ways

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 19 – While Russian, Chechen and official Ingush commentators continue to insist that the Russian Constitutional Court’s decision ended the controversy over the September 26 Ingush-Chechen border accord, Ingush opponents of the agreement are coming up with new ways to keep their objections alive, forcing Moscow to consider how to respond.

            First, the Muslim Spiritual Directorate of Ingushetia has announced that it will appeal to the European Court for Human Rights, whose decision Moscow would almost certainly ignore, and to the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the League of Arab States, whose decisions it would find harder to counter (

            Second, this new Muslim activism in Ingushetia has prompted the Coordinating Center for Muslims of the North Caucasus to call on Ingush believers to “stop and reflect” about how their actions may produce “a time of troubles” in the North Caucasus (

            But that declaration may already be proving counter-productive: both Ingush opponents of the border accord and Russian commentators say that Coordinating Center in this case is acting as little more than the Kremlin’s agent in place, thus undercutting any authority it may have for Muslims in Ingushetia or elsewhere (

            And third, the dissenting deputies in the Ingush parliament have succeeded in getting the Ingush parliament’s ethics commission to accept their arguments that Yunus-Bek Yevkurov and his regime falsified the decision on the accord, thus making the agreement null and void (

            Consequently, the situation now is that the Ingush population and a significant number of its elected officials are arrayed against Moscow, Chechnya and the Moscow-appointed governor of Ingushetia, leading not to the cooling of passions but rather to their intensification as Ingush seek to defend their territory from Ramzan Kadyrov’s aspirations. 

            The ball is now in Moscow’s court:  it remains to be seen what it will try to do next. But whatever it does, the authority of the Russian center in Ingushetia has collapsed; and the Ingush are going to continue their opposition to its dictates however harshly Moscow will seek to impose them.

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