Monday, November 18, 2019

Lawyers for Ingush Detainees Challenge Moscow’s Decision to Shift Trials Out of Republic

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 15 – Lawyers for Ingush detainees who have had their scheduled trials shifted from Ingushetia to other federal subjects are appealing that Russian Supreme Court decision to the full court and may turn to the European Court for Human Rights if they do not succeed in overturning that ruling (

            Meanwhile, Chechen scholars and lawyers have dismissed claims by Ingush activists to various territories, including those transferred to Chechnya by the September 2018 accord between former Ingush head Yunus-Bek Yevkurov and Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov ( and

            The Chechens say that Ingush use of historical documents to make their case is inappropriate and unconvincing because borders have changed not only their location but meaning and population shifts mean that an area that may have been populated by one group in the past is now the home of those who have moved in.

            As far as the claims to the Sundzhe district are concerned, one Chechen said, the Ingush have adopted the strategy that is captured in an old Chechen saying: “If you want to defend something nearby, dispute something far away,” a possible indication that Grozny considers that Chechen borders with Ingushetia should be changed yet again.

            There were two other articles today addressing some key issues. In the first, Ayup Gagiyev, the head of the Ingush section of the Association of the Lawyers of Russia, said that a major cause for Yevkurov’s mistake with Chechnya was the absence of a serious historical and legal assessment of the 1992 conflict with North Ossetia over the Prigorodny district.

            Had such an assessment been available, he suggests, Yevkurov would have known better than to make concessions to Kadyrov; and there would not have been the wave of protests that have roiled Ingushetia since. Gagiyev thus calls for the preparation of such an assessment in the coming months (пробелы-историко-юридической-оценки/).

            In the second, Murad Daskiyev, acting president of the Union of Teips of the Ingush People, says that the authorities have always put pressure on the Union but that “we always declare in our appeals that we are not the opposition: we say that we are a bridge between the authorities and society and defend the rights of citizens” (

            The Union includes representatives of 112 teips and more than 200 Ingush families, he continues. It was established in 2015 and officially registered in 2017.  Yevkurov initially supported the idea but rejected it when the leaders of the teips insisted on their right to speak and act independently of the powers that be.

            “Our protests are sometimes compared with the Bolotnaya Square meetings in Moscow,” and some in Moscow and Magas have spread lies that we too receive money from abroad in order to “destabilize the situation in the North Caucasus and undermine Russian statehood.”  Nothing could be further from the truth.

            We oppose being called “’the Ingush Bolotnaya.’ We have different goals and are for the solution of concrete problems. We do not have as our goal the overturning of the system or the authorities. We are against the illegal, in our view, transfer of land and against the violation of the laws of the Russian Federation and of Ingushetia.”

            Magas’ repressive policies have continued unchanged under Yevkurov’s successor, Makhmud-Ali Kalimatov, Daskiyev says.  The Ingush people will not retreat from their opposition to the handing over of Ingush land to Chechnya. For the Ingush, he says, “this isn’t politics; for them, it is life itself, the present and future of their children.”

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