Sunday, June 30, 2019

Stavropol and Its Neighbors – Another Set of Border Disputes Now Ready to Explode

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 29 – The governor of Stavropol Kray established a commission for delimiting the borders of that predominantly ethnic Russian region with its neighbors, the equally Russian Krasnodar Kray and Rostov Oblast and the non-Russian republics of Daghestan, North Ossetia, Chechnya, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachayevo-Cherkessia and Kalmykia.

            There are disputes between many of these and Stavropol as a result of earlier border changes, and they may prove explosive because unlike the recent cases of the Chechen-Ingush and Chechen-Daghestan borders, these are not between non-Russian entities but between an ethnic Russian one and non-Russian republics (

            The most potentially explosive, perhaps not surprisingly, involve Chechnya, Ingushetia and North Ossetia.  Perhaps the most sensitive is the border between Chechnya and Stavropol The Shchelovsky and Naursky districts, which before the deportation of the Vaynakhs, were part of Stavropol kray were in 1957 given to the Chechen-Ingush ASSR in compensation for the Prigorodny District of Ingushetia which Moscow gave to North Ossetia.

            All these federal subjects include people who think all or part of these territories should be included within their borders.  Moscow has had to replace one republic head because of protests about border changes, and it has delayed further discussion of the Chechen-Daghestani border for a year to allow things to cool off there.  

But it may now face more flashpoints around Stavropol and be forced to back down yet again. It is difficult to see what anyone is gaining from promoting such discussions as the Kremlin has demanded – except perhaps those who want the resulting protests or chaos to be the justification for a massive crackdown by Russian forces.

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