Saturday, December 21, 2019

Ingushetia ‘an Outcast Republic’ Caught Between Two Kremlin Favorites, North Ossetia and Chechnya

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 20 – Ingushetia has become a victim not only because its people are more law-abiding than those in neighboring republics, Akhmed Buzurtanov says, but also because two of its neighbors, North Ossetia and Chechnya, albeit for radically different reasons, are favorites of the Kremlin.

            “Favoritism toward Ossetia,” the Portal Six commentator says, “is based on the fact that it is viewed as ‘the advance post of Russia in the North Caucasus,’ just as Armenia is viewed as the advance post of Russia in the South Caucasus” because the Russian Empire has bet on Christians and considered Muslims as “a potential threat.”

            That in recent years “a new nationalism,” based on paganism rather than Christianity, is something Moscow has preferred to ignore, Buzurtanov says. For the center, “the main thing is to be a counterweight to Muslims” (сокуров-и-незавидная-миссия-ингушско/#more-800).

            Moscow’s “other favorite” in the North Caucasus is “Kadyrov’s Chechnya.” Moscow likes it because Chechnya is ready to “help Moscow solve problems. For imperial Russia, it is not an advance post in the Caucasus, in contrast to Christian Ossetia but potentially a very serious headache.”

            Pressure emanating from these two favorites, is reinforced by “yet another important factor.” Both of these republics but not Ingushetia have Russian military bases, and both republics also have “their own force resources,” something Ingushetia does not have. As a result, it isn’t a favorite and can’t be.

            According to Buzurtanov, “Ingushetia [thus] is not an advanced post and not a peacemaker.” Consequently, it has to yield to those who are because Moscow will back them.  And that is the case because there is no real federalism in Russia, but rather an empire with favored and unfavored units.

            “The Ingush are outcasts for this empire; one must understand that,” the commentator says. But he adds: “the Ingush must not try to gain the role of a new favorite of the empire in place of the old. To be a favorite of the tsar or the empire is not a winning position but a losing one. Today you are a favorite: tomorrow you are in disgrace and have to pay for yesterday.”

            What the Ingush need to continue to do is to demand real federalism, a system based on power-sharing and laws rather than hyper-centralism and naked favoritism.

            Today, six Ingush activists whose hearings are taking place in Stavropol Kray issued a statement about unacceptable conditions in the places of detention ( One of their number, Mustafa Vyshegurov, began a hunger strike to protest the demand of his jailors that he trim his beard despite his Muslim convictions (  and

            Also the Stavropolcourt extended the detentions of Ingush activists Adam Badiyev, Amir Oskanov, Zubeir Khamkhoyev, Dzhokhar Aliyev, Mustafa Vyshegurov, Barakh Chemurzyev, and Ismail Nagiyev for three months (,,,,, and

            Meanwhile, at the Ingush State University, an exhibit on the Ingush deportation and return attracted the attention of many in the republic (

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