Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Many Chechens Supported Ingush in Border Dispute, Reaction to New Film Shows

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 11 – An Ingush film about the protests that followed the border deal between Yunus-Bek Yevkurov and Ramzan Kadyrov in 2018 shows that many Chechens came to Ingushetia to express their support for the Ingush side because they believed that no agreement between the two republics should have been carried out in secret as it was.

            Reaction to the film, which has attracted notice when the organizers of the Moscow Documentary Film Festival refused to show it because it did not have Russian government sanction, suggests that the attitudes of the Chechens shown in the film reflect a broader pattern in Chechen society (

            Khava Khazbiyeva, the producer of the film, said she and her colleagues wanted to show “the depth of the suffering of people” as a result of the Yevkurov-Kadyrov deal and the repressions that followed protests against it. Significantly, the film shows many Chechens backing the Ingush and does not have a single negative comment by Ingush about the Chechens.

            Those Chechens Kadyrov has trotted out to declare that their nation unanimously supports the border deal “are not the Chechens whom I know and who came in those days to meetings in Magas to support those taking part. Both the Chechens and Ingush alike suffered significantly” as a result of what happened.

            Maryana Kalmykova, who directed Doazub [“The Border”], says she is not going to try to get Russian government clearance but instead is exploring various platforms on which the film may be placed so that all can see it. The reaction of Chechens surveyed by Kavkaz-Uzel suggests there is a significant and sympathetic audience for the film in their republic.

            Taus Serganova, an observer for the Dosh news agency, said that what the film showed is what she and her family remember: the Chechens were as angry about the border deal as the Ingush were and that she personally is “categorically against repressions toward those who took part or organized the demonstrations.”

            Another Chechen, who gave his name only as Magomed, said that he had often been in Ingushetia at the times of the protests. “I am not a film critic, but I can speak as an interested viewer” who “from “’pre-perestroika’ times retains friends among the Ingush.”

            “When two leaders in secret from their own peoples sign an agreement about the transfer of land to Chechnya,” he says, “I assure you that the majority of sensible Chechens were on the side of our neighbors. But in our republic to say that aloud” is dangerous because the powers will seek to crush you.

            The Chechen regime wants to divide the Chechens and the Ingush but Chechens and Ingush remember that “everything was different earlier.” And many of them would like to go back to that situation when it becomes possible.

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