Thursday, January 6, 2022

Chechnya’s Kadyrov Threatens to Annex More Ingush Territory if Magas Keeps Complaining

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Nov. 16 – In recent weeks, Ingush commentators and officials have become increasingly angry about Chechen construction projects along the current border of the two republics that have resulted in a change, to the benefit of Chechnya, in the course of the border river, the Fortanga.

            Chechen officials immediately involved in the project have acknowledged that they had made a mistake and said they would correct it, allowing the border river’s flow to return to what it had been. But Ramzan Kadyrov has now exacerbated the situation by threatening to annex more Ingush territory if Magas doesn’t stop complaining.

            At a meeting of officials in Chechnya’s Galanchozh district, Kadyrov said that “if you don’t calm down, I will take back all that Dudayev [the first president of Chechnya-Ichkeria] illegally transferred to Ingushetia” ( and

            “We have the forces to do so,” the Chechen head said, but if we are forced to use them, it won’t be “good” for Ingushetia. Indeed, it would almost certainly throw that republic into the kind of turmoil it has experienced since Kadyrov and Ingushetia’s then-head Yunus-Bek Yevkurov agreed to transfer 10 percent of Ingushetia’s territory to Chechnya.

            But for two reasons, Kadyrov’s words are likely to prove even more explosive. On the one hand, many in Ingushetia are on edge because of the approaching end of the trial of the Ingush Seven who were among the leaders of protests against the earlier land transfer from Ingushetia to Chechnya.

            And on the other, Kadyrov has shown interest in Chechen-populated regions of Daghestan; and his threatening words about Ingushetia are likely to be heard in Makhachkala as an indication that he may be thinking about using force to achieve his territorial aspirations in its republic.

            Moscow has not said anything officially about Kadyrov’s latest outburst, but calmer heads in the Russian capital must recognize that the course Kadyrov has adopted with regard to his neighbors may compromise Russian interests even more than his kidnaping and murders of his opponents abroad.

            If Kadyrov goes ahead with his threat to use force, it is entirely possible the entire North Caucasus will explode given that there are few borders there that one side or the other or in many cases both don’t dispute.

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