Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Kadyrov Now Provoking Makhachkala by Unilaterally Marking the Chechen-Daghestani Border

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 2 – In Ingushetia, Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov provoked a national rising against himself and Ingushetia head Yunus-Bek Yevkurov when the two agreed to a one-sided land deal last September that took land away from the smallest subject of the Russian Federation and gave it to Chechnya.

            That protest continues and is increasingly directed more toward the ouster of Yevkurov than toward the reversal of the border accord the two men reached.  Indeed, there is evidence that the situation is rapidly spinning out of control with the opposition ever more radical and Yevkurov and his Moscow backers increasingly willing to use force.

            Now, in his dealings with Daghestan, the Chechen leader has managed to infuriate people by secretly and unilaterally demarcating the border between the two republics -- but so far only the government rather than the population as a whole. How long that will last remains to be seen (ekhokavkaza.com/a/29856988.html and kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/333754/).

            It is common ground that the Daghestani population, which is far more ethnically subdivided than any other federal subject and thus a complete contrast with ethnically homogeneous Ingushetia. But Daghestani officials and Daghestanis in the border region are infuriated by Kadyrov’s approach.

            The Chechen leader has insisted that the talks on the border between the two republics be conducted in secrecy, sparking fears that he plans to force Makhachkala to make concessions it wouldn’t dare if the population knew about them and leading some to demand Moscow intervene (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/02/information-vacuum-around-daghestan.html and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/02/daghestanis-fear-theyll-lose-land-to.html.)

            Now, either to insure themselves against popular anger or to put pressure on Kadyrov and his Moscow backers, the Daghestani parliament has voted to demand that one transfer of territory in the Kizlyar district be nullified and that its registration in the Chechen State Land Registry be changed as well.

            On its official site today, the National Assembly of Daghestan declared that “the unilateral definition of the border” by Chechnya as seems to have happened is “impermissible.” The republic parliament said it has sent letters about this to the North Caucasus Federal District and to the head of the Chechen parliament.

            As of now, neither Moscow’s representatives nor the Chechen authorities have responded. But if the Daghestanis move to restore the pre-existing border, that will set the stage for a conflict that could be even more serious than the one in Ingushetia, not between the people and powers as there but between two separate republics.

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