Staunton, May 23 – The Moscow Institute of Regional Expertise says that the North Caucasus has examples of all the kinds of protests that are roiling other regions of Russia, including anger about the building of religious facilities, the location of trash dumps, and the raising of the pension age (capost.media/special/sobytiya/kavkaz_vstal_na_dyby_kto_ego_usmirit/).
These protests are almost always overshadowed by ethnic protests like the ones in Ingushetia about the border deal with Chechnya and the repression of protesters against that deal by Yunus-Bek Yevkurov; but in fact, the two interact with protests of one kind playing into and intensifying protests of other kinds.
Consequently, the example of protests in Ingushetia has the potential to make these other protests, now relatively ignored, vastly more important in the coming weeks and months, thus commanding the attention they have rarely received and creating a new challenge to Moscow’s control of that historically restive region.
In the last 24 hours, there were also two developments having to do with Ingushetia’s tense relationships with the republics it borders and three additional cases of repression against the Ingush opposition.
Ingush activists have expressed anger that the Yevkurov regime, unlike all the other North Caucasus republics, has failed to participate in a program to repopulate mountain regions, something that elsewhere helps the other republics hold land but that by its absence in Ingushetia puts the republic at risk of further claims by others (zamanho.com/?p=8131).
At the same time, the Ingush ministry for external relations and information tried to calm the anger of many Ingush about North Ossetian plans to scale a mountain on the border between the two republics. That challenges Ingush sovereignty, but the ministry said everyone should take part not get angry (doshdu.com/2019/05/23/ингушское-министерство-призвало-не-д/).
Whether the Ingush will do so when the event takes plane on June 8-9 remains to be seen. If many do join the ascent that could have just the opposite effect Magas hopes for, leading to clashes between Ingush and Ossetians over who is the rightful owner of this mountain and even reopen the Prigorodny district dispute which took on bloody form in the early 1990s.
Meanwhile, there were three noteworthy examples of Yevkurov’s continuing repression of the Ingush opposition. First, an opposition figure who has already been fined for his role in the October 2018 protests now faces additional punishments for the same set of actions (fortanga.org/2019/05/v-magasskom-sude-v-ocherednoj-raz-sudili-malsaga-uzhahova-video/).
Second, Magomed Mutsolgov, he head of the MASHR human rights organization and leading Ingush opposition blogger, has been hauled in for questioning about recent opposition actions in the republic (mbk.news/news/glavu-ingushskoj-2/). And five opposition figures now under detention will be kept there until a trial in September, a court has ruled (zamanho.com/?p=8114).