Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Ingush Teips Calling for Boycott Did So After Consultations and by Unanimous Vote

Paul Goble

            Staunton, March 21 – Representatives of the first four Ingush teips to call for a boycott of the April referendum on amendments to the Russian Constitution say they took this step only after consulting with each other and with lawyers and by unanimous vote,  an approach that makes their actions even more significant than it might appear.

            Akhmed-Bashir Aushev, president of the Aushev teip, tells Kavkaz-Uzel that “the head of the council of a teip does not have the right to take any decision on his own, especially if the question concerns an address to the president of Russia. Everything was discussed and decided upon at an assembly of family elders” (

                The appeal itself was prepared by a group of activists, he continues, one that included as required an individual with legal training. Then, the teip assembled not only the elders who are members of the council of the Aushev teip “but also representatives of our family regardless of their age.”

            This body modified and amended the document. It consulted with others. And “in this case,” Aushev says, “it made its decision by unanimous vote.” Even though not everyone in the teip will follow its recommendation, this suggests far broader support for a boycott that a decision by elders alone might have.

            He and the leaders of the other three teips Kavkaz-Uzel spoke with indicated that the teips had taken this decision because of their anger about Yevkurov’s give-away of their republic’s land, the arrest of activists and especially Zarifa Sautiyeva, and the unwillingness of Moscow or Magas to meet with the leaders of Ingush society.

            Bagaudin Gagiyev, the leader of the teip of his name, adds that the teips consulted with people in every part of Ingushetia and that it was important that people in each district agreed with the decision of the council. He noted that his representatives had even gone into hospitals to speak with those who were sick.

            What the powers that be seem to have forgotten, Musa Shaukhalov of that teip says, is that the protests in October 2018 would have ended “extremely badly” had it not been for the restraining influence of the teips. The elders kept things from getting out of hand out of the expectation that as in the past, the powers would speak with them. That didn’t happen.

            By its declaration, he continues, his teip “wanted to say that in seeking to be heard by the federal authorities, the Ingush people is united.”

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