Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Offense and Defense on the Educational Front in Ingushetia

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 19 – The conflict between the powers and the people in Ingushetia is not limited to that between the siloviki and the protesters but extends to all aspects of life, including scholarly organizations that the authorities want to control or close and that members are seeking ever new ways to survive.

            Yesterday, the Ingush justice ministry listed the Magas Institute for Social Change as a foreign agent, apparently the result of an FSB raid on its headquarters last month and likely to lead to the liquidation of this NGO which has been involved in improving the quality of education in the republic (zamanho.com/?p=14073 and interfax.ru/russia/680940).

            But today, leading Ingush historians whose work has not been supported by the Ingush government created a closed scientific-historical club called Kavkasion.  It will admit new members only by vote and will seek sources of funding to publish the work of the republic’s scholars (zamanho.com/?p=14077 and facebook.com/komissiya.ing/posts/113294950086865).

            Over the last decade, the historians present at this constituent meeting said that “historical science in Ingushetia had survived only thanks to the efforts of the scholars themselves.” Much research has bene done but remains unpublished because of the absence of state funding, a sharp contrast with the situation in neighboring republics.

            They expressed the hope that the new republic head, Makhmud-Ali Kalimatov, may change the situation and help them with their plans to create an academic research center in Magas.  The scholars may face obstacles in that regard given that at their initial meeting, they indicated that they will tackle some politically sensitive issues.
            Specifically, they committed themselves to providing research support for the All-National Commission of the Ingush People regarding the definition of the republic’s borders. That commission was established on October 30, 2018, by the First World Congress of the Ingush People which as closely allied with the protesters.

            Meanwhile, two of those protesters, Isropil Nalgiyev and Babaudin Gagiyev appealed their convictions to the European Court for Human Rights on the grounds that their constitutional and human rights had been violated (memohrc.org/ru/news_old/dvoe-zhiteley-ingushetii-pozhalovalis-v-espch-na-arest-i-shtraf-iz-za-uchastiya-v).

            And in an interesting commentary, Zamanho’s Imran Khagury says that one of the signs of the increasing distance between the powers that be and the people is the growing size and length of the automobile columns leaders travel in. In Ingushetia, he says, such columns are getting larger and thus more cut off from the people (zamanho.com/?p=14057).

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