Sunday, February 23, 2020

Putin Request, Not Any Law, Sparked Border Crisis in Ingushetia, Magas Writer Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 17 – Ingush residents must focus on the fact that the September 2018 border deal between Yunus-Bek Yevkurov and Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov and the protests that have ensued were the product of a 2018 call by Vladimir Putin to have the borders of all federal subjects demarcated by the beginning of 2020, Akhmed Buzurtanov says.

            And everyone should now recognize that such statements by the Kremlin leader “are not an argument for establishing these borders,” the Portal Six commentator says. At most, they should be the basis for coming up with a law that then could be applied; but that isn’t how the Russian system works (поручение-путина-уже-не-аргумент-пр/#more-1038).

            Yevkurov, Kadyrov and now current republic head Makhmud-Ali Kalimatov have all justified the border accord by saying that Putin had called for it and said it must be completed by early 2020.  But Russian law in fact doesn’t say that; and both they and the Kremlin leader should be acting within its provisions.

            The relevant government directive was issued on November 30, 2015, and called for borders among federal subjects as well as municipalities to be completed by 2030. Without any legal authority, Putin accelerated the process by a decade and thus set the stage not only for mistakes but for protests.

            This commentary is significant because it shows that increasingly citizens of the Russian Federation are making distinctions between Russian law and Putin’s preferences and demanding that the country follow the former rather than merely go along with whatever the latter appear to suggest.

            Meanwhile, Magomed Mutsolgov, a Yabloko activist in Ingushetia, praises in his blog the work of the “First Aid” movement in support of prisoners and their families that the siloviki by their actions have forced to shut down lest that support cause the prisoners to hold out against pressure while they are incarcerated (

            An enormous part of the Ingush population took part in the work of First Aid, the blogger says, providing what assistance it could to those who took on the heavy work of travelling to the detention centers to give toiletries and other items of immediate need and identifying and helping the families of the prisoners as well.

            “The project,” he continues, “was born, developed and carried out exclusively as a popular initiative, thanks exclusively to the enthusiasm of Boriss Kodzoyev, Aza Khalukhayeva and several others of our brothers and sisters,” Mutsolgov continues.  And for that reason, the authorities couldn’t tolerate its existence. 

            Now, the siloviki have acted against these people and forced them to suspend work, a decision that was hard but the only correct one, the blogger says, because “the chief principle of the activity of any individual involved in human rights or charitable activity is ‘first, do no harm.’”

            If “First Aid” had continued to operate, its activists and even supporters would have been arrested, adding to the number of detainees rather than helping those already behind bars. “While saving some, it is extremely important not to create new victims” especially since no one in power will speak on their behalf.

            The Ingush nation and especially those who took part in the efforts of “First Aid” can be proud of what they accomplished. Let that be a model for them in the future when conditions allow the renewal of its activities; in the meantime, all Ingush must be grateful for what these brave and courageous people did.   

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