Staunton, March 26 – After three months of relative quiet in which the struggle against Yunus-Bek Yevkurov’s deal with Chechnya on the border shifted from the streets to courtrooms and legislatures, the Ingush opposition today renewed its public opposition, with 40,000 demonstrators in Magas calling for a reversal of the border agreement and Yevkurov’s ouster.
The number of protesters rival those of last fall and the demands for Yevkurov’s removal, the investigation of his regime for corruption, and a clear vote against his calls for restricting the referenda rights the republic constitution calls for suggest that the Ingush movement is becoming ever more political. (On these demands, see the meetings resolution at t.me/fortangaorg/2500).
Organizers say they will continue their protests until their demands are met. Ingush outside of Ingushetia, including in Moscow, are now echoing their demands. And Yevkurov is increasingly isolated politically, although he still appears to have Moscow’s backing, given that the Kremlin fears giving in to the demonstrators could lead to even larger problems.
Perhaps equally important, this demonstration has attracted widespread reporting in the electronic media both regional and Russian – e.g., kavkazr.com/a/ingushskaya-oppozitsiya-snova-vyshla-na-miting-chto-sluchilos/29842712.html, newtimes.ru/articles/detail/178712, echo.msk.ru/news/2395977-echo.html, mbk-news.appspot.com/region/sud-v-ingushetii-ne/ zamanho.com/?p=5453, and grani-ru-org.appspot.com/Politics/Russia/activism/m.275703.html).
But perhaps especially important, in addition to the backing the organizers have received from traditional Ingush and Muslim groups, the meeting attracted a representative of the Yabloko party, something that will raise the stakes considerably at least from Moscow’s point of view (zamanho.com/?p=5450 https://fortanga.org/2019/03/na-miting-v-magas-priedet-zamglavy-yabloka/).
The question now is whether the organizers can sustain such meetings for an extended period as they did last fall – or whether Yevkurov and his Moscow patrons will decide to crack down hard lest what is happening in Ingushetia become a model for others in the North Caucasus and elsewhere.
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