Staunton, February 23 – In the run up to this year’s commemoration of the 77th anniversary of the deportation of the Vaynakh peoples in 1944, both Chechens and Ingush insisted as they have earlier that they don’t want to combine that day of sorrow with the Russian holiday, the Day of the Defender of the Fatherland.
The latter should be moved to some other date, they have suggested, because the former must be forever marked given the tragic consequences the events of 1944 have had on these two nations in the North Caucasus. But Moscow has insisted, putting its minions in the region in a difficult position.
(Chechen officials have tried to avoid this problem by shifting the commemoration of the deportation to May 10 so that Grozny can mark the Russian Day of the Defender of the Fatherland without problems. But most Chechens have not accepted this new date as legitimate (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/335321/).)
Perhaps no better bellwether of the way things are going in this regard is the behavior of Ingush head Makhmud-Ali Kalimatov who as so often has done precisely what Moscow wants but nonetheless tires to avoid further offending the Ingush people lest they resume the mass protests which topped his predecessor.
His government organized events to mark both memorial days, something that likely offended many Ingush who believe that the deportation deserves to take precedence, especially as the last survivors of that crime against humanity are near death and soon won’t be able to tell their stories.
Moreover, both ordinary Ingush residents and many Ingush leaders openly say that combining the two events is “a symbol of the contradictions” in state policy that must be resolved if the Ingush people are to deal with the past and move toward a better future (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/360093/
As a result, the Ingush head said, they “preserved their language, culture, customs and traditions and what is most important, their love for their Motherland.” For Kalimatov, that motherland is the land ruled from Moscow; for the Ingush people, it is increasingly something smaller but dearer.