Staunton, October 18 – Five Ingush protest leaders -- Barakh Chemurziyev, Musa Malsagov,, Ismail Nalgiyev, Bagaudin Khautiyeva and Zarifa Sautiyeva – are being examined at at Stavropol’s Psychiatric Hospital Number 1. Various courts ordered this action, which lawyers for the five say violates their rights (zamanho.com/?p=14002).
Such examinations, lawyers and human rights activists say, is an act of intimidation and recalls some of the worst features of the punitive use of psychiatry by the Soviet state. Not only are the five isolated from their lawyers and families, but Stavropol is far from Moscow and thus does not receive the media attention that has limited the application of this tool there.
Meanwhile, also in Stavropol, the kray appellate court refused to overturn the extensions by lower courts of two other participants in the Ingush protests, Ismail Nalgiyev and Khasan Katsiyev, who now will remain behind bars until at least December 25 (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/341349/).
And in Chechnya, two Chechen historians and Chechen parliament speaker Mokhammed Daudov declared that documents Ingush activist Musa Zurabov had presented to Daudov last week purporting to show that the land Yunus-Bek Yevkurov agreed to give to Chechnya did not show that and would be ignored (zamanho.com/?p=14005 and kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/341338/).
In rejecting Zurabov’s arguments, Daudov did acknowledge that in the border region between the two republics there lives a numerically small Vaynakh people (a group which numbers no more than a few hundred), the Orstkhoy or Akhstins, who identify themselves as such in Ingushetia but call themselves Chechens in Chechnya.
The case of this group is interesting for three reasons. First, it shows that the formation of modern ethnic identities in the North Caucasus and even among the Vaynakh peoples is far from complete. Second, it highlights the way in which some republic governments recognize minorities like the Ingush while others like the Chechen don’t.
And third, it underscores why borders in the region are so sensitive politically. If the territory where a group lives is transferred from one republic to another as in the case of Ingushetia and Chechnya, the territorial change is almost certain to be accompanied by a change not just in the size of the republic but in the size of the titular nation.