Friday, May 21, 2021

Moscow Moves to Take More Land from Ingushetia for a Military Base

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 19 – For most of the last three years, Ingush society has been focused on the deal former republic head Yunus-Bek Yevkurov made with Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov that gave away 10 percent of the Russian Federation’s smallest republic, and the demonstrations and trials of those who protested against that move.

            That remains the central preoccupation, as a Russian appeals court today refused to block the extension of the detention of the Ingush Seven and as the debate over the utility of contacts between Ingush activists and Chechen officials about the land deal intensified ( and

            But Moscow is now adding fuel to the fire by pushing for the construction of a Russian military facility that will in effect take more land away from the Ingush and thus add to their sense that the Russian government is working hand in glove with the Chechens to destroy their homeland.

            Not surprisingly, the Ingush are outraged about the construction of such a facility. They have demanded that it be relocated so as not to harm Ingush cultural monuments and extracted at least a promise from the Russian defense ministry that it will not harm any. But it is already clear that this won’t end the anger.

            Behind the specific complaints is the general one that once again the Ingush are losing territory without being directly consulted. That sent hundreds of thousands of them into the streets two years ago. Given that a verdict in the Ingush Seven case is close and expected to be a finding of guilty, these two things are likely to spark a new round of demonstrations.

            That will create a problem for Moscow because they will come just before the Duma elections and may even create a situation in which the reliably pro-Kremlin republics won’t be quite so reliably pro-United Russia in this fall’s Duma vote as before.

            (For details on this Russian decision, Ingush outrage, and the back and forth so far between the Ingush and the Russian army, see,, and

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