Thursday, February 27, 2020

Chaika’s Interest Prompts Magas to Come Up with ‘Road Map’ for Resolving Prigorodny Dispute with North Ossetia

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 22 – Yury Chaika’s businesslike and attentive behavior during his meetings with Ingush leaders and willingness to talk about serious problems has led some in Magas to conclude that the new plenipotentiary for the North Caucasus wants to see steps taken to resolve the problems that have been eating away at the authority of Makhmud-Ali Kalimatov.

            The issue that the plenipotentiary appears most interested in addressing is the fate of those displaced by the Prigorodny District conflict in the early 1990s, commentator Anton Chablin says, adding that Magas is now preparing “a road map” on how it can address that problem (проблема-пригородного-района-близит/).

            Such a document presumably will focus on providing for those Ingush displaced as a result of that conflict – there are tens of thousands of these – and also for the Ingush who remain in North Ossetia, especially the children who do not now have access to Ingush-language schools,

            What makes this striking, Chablin says, is that Kalimatov has studiously avoided discussing this issue in the past. His willingness to do so now means that at least some in Ingushetia are likely to conclude that, under pressure from the plenipotentiary, the republic head may be willing to focus on other neuralgic issues, including the border with Chechnya.

            Meanwhile, Ingushetia is marking International Native Language Day with a “dekada,” the Russian term for a ten-day festival that has enormous political resonance in the North Caucasus because of translator and cultural specialist Semyon Lipkin’s samizdat novel from the late 1970s (

            Ingush participants at a seminar arranged as part of this “dekada” were “unanimous in believing that one of the causes which has put the Ingush language on the brink of disappearance is its disappearance from daily conversations.” People in Ingushetia “not only aren’t speaking it but have even ceased to think in their native language.”

            Roza Khayrova, a linguist in Magas, says that a major reason for this has been the rise of the Internet where young Ingush spend an increasing amount of their time on Russian sites and thus absorb that language at the expense of their own. “Parents,” she says, “must fill this gap and constantly speak Ingush with their children.”

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