Monday, January 28, 2019

Kadyrov Backs Down on Changing Chechen Border with Daghestan

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 26 – After successfully acquiring more than 26,000 hectares from Ingushetia via an agreement with Ingushetia’s Yunus-Bek Yevkurov and talking about Chechnya’s interest in the Chechen community in Daghestan, many in Chechnya and elsewhere assumed Kadyrov was going to seek to add to Chechnya at Daghestan’s expense.

            But at a meeting he called yesterday with the five Chechen districts adjoining Daghestan, Kadyrov made clear that he does not expect any radical changes in that border but only its more precise demarcation, an indication that the Chechen leader has backed down from his earlier more expansive approach (

                It is almost certain that this is the result of pressure from Moscow which certainly does not want to risk having Daghestanis start the kind of protests that have roiled Ingushetia since the September 26 accord or lead other republic leaders to assume that they may be able to make demands on the territory of their neighbors anytime soon.

            Kadyrov told the five district heads that he doesn’t expect any significant changes in the 475-kilometer border between the two republics. There may be slight adjustments of a few meters in either direction, he said, but nothing major. There is no “territorial dispute,” he said, adding that the demarcation would be the work of officials and experts from both republics. 

            Kadyrov’s pullback has disappointed many Chechens. One local resident told Kavkaz-Uzel that when the border issue was raised, he hoped that Grozny would seek to recover the Aukhov district in Daghestan which is populated primarily by Chechens.  Now, those hopes appear to be dashed.

            The Aukhov district has been a source of controversy for more than a quarter of a century. In July 1991, the Daghestani parliament voted to restore the region within that republic but did not provide the kind of funding the Chechens there needed. Most Chechens there want their problems resolved within Daghestan, but some assume they will be only if it becomes part of Chechnya. 

            And there are bigger issues as well.  According to one Grozny resident, a historian by training, “over the last 100 to 150 years, Chechnya has been deprives of significant territories. First, the tsarist powers gave out land to the neighbors, then the Bolsheviks and the Communists. Now, our leadership has decided to make its contribution to this process.”

            It certainly appears, he said, that Moscow has given the order not to change the border and that Kadyrov has saluted and retreated from where he appeared to be less than a month ago.

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