Monday, October 14, 2019

Two More Border Disputes in North Caucasus Seen Likely to Shift from Simmer to Boil

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 11 – Moscow’s push for the demarcation of the borders of all federal subjects and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s ambitions have already combined to provoke the deal between Yunus-Bek Yevkurov and Kadyrov 13 months ago that has triggered protests in Ingushetia ever since.

            Now, Elena Salamova of the Kavkazr portal says, “the revision of borders in the North Caucasus will soon begin again,” with two borders, that between Chechnya and Daghestan and the second between Ingushetia and North Ossetia, seen likely to generate particular controversies (

            The first is likely to be a problem for two reasons. On the one hand, the person Grozny has put in charge of negotiations is the outspoken Magomed Daudov who was behind the border deal with Ingushetia and whose comments have regularly inflamed opinion both in Ingushetia and in Daghestan. 

            And on the other hand, as Daudov has pointed out, no one in Daghestan apparently is ready to take responsibility for any border agreement and so has put off naming officials to the talks, inaction that has infuriated the Chechen side and led to complaints among Daghestanis about Grozny ( and

            Daghestani officials say that they will have their negotiating team in place “after the new year” and that there is plenty of time to meet Moscow’s timetable unless the Chechen side causes problems.

            A potentially more serious border problem concerns the border between Ingushetia, which is already angry about the border deal with Chechnya, and North Ossetia, where Ingushetia’s loss of the Prigorodny district after bloody fighting in 1992 still rankles, most recently leading to a protest by those Ingush forced to flee that area.

            North Ossetia says there is nothing to discuss, but Ingush officials are insisting on a formal demarcation.  The problem is that any talks will rapidly become politicized and likely lead those who have protested the deal with Chechnya to protest any deal with North Ossetia, given Ingushetia is already the smallest federal subject and thus especially sensitive about land.

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