Staunton, April 13 – Ever more Ingush are thinking about emigrating from the Russian Federation because they are appalled by Putin’s war in Ukraine, fearful that they will be called up to fight there, or don’t see any possibility for significant positive change even if the war ends and Putin is replaced, Milli Urban says.
The Fortanga journalist interviewed a variety of people in Ingushetia. Many did not give their names, but all said that they were either thinking about leaving the country and/or knew others who were doing the same. She concludes that “many” Ingush are thinking about emigration (fortanga.org/2022/04/net-zhelaniya-byt-chastyu-etoj-strany-ingushi-zadumalis-ob-emigraczii/).
Said, a 55-year-old lawyer from Nazran, said he had been thinking about emigration for ten years but that the war in Ukraine had convinced him the time to do so was now. “I do not want to pay taxes to a government which is using that money to kill the citizens of a peaceful country which has not attacked anyone.”
But he says he has an additional reason: “When studying the history of the Russian Empire and the USSR, I came to the conclusion that even if this regime falls and a liberal or democrat comes to power, this society will make of the new leader a tyrant” because of Russian cultural traditions.
He reached that conclusion, Said says, because many who backed Navalny are now supporting Putin’s war in Ukraine. He adds that he wants his children to live in a country “where law and justice are not imitations, where leaders fulfill election promises, and observe the basic principles enshrined the Convention on Human Rights.
Another Nazran resident, 18-year-old Umar, says he wants to leave lest he be drafted and forced to fight in Ukraine. “If it were a choice between going to war and sitting in prison, I would choose prison,” he says. Defending one’s own country is one thing, but taking part in an aggressive war of conquest is something else altogether. (emphasis supplied)
Magomed from Magas, a 31-year-old veteran of protests about the border deal with Chechnya, says he has long thought about seeking political asylum in the West but with the war in Ukraine has conclude that he must not wait any longer despite the difficulties he and his family will face in making such a move.
According to Magomed, “now many are leaving,” dozens from within his personal circle, something for a small republic like Ingushetia that is an enormous figure. “There would be more” if the costs of leaving and problems of getting established elsewhere were less, he suggests.
Aruzha, a 35-year-old economist from Malgobek, says she has long thought about leaving but that the war in Ukraine has forced her to decide that she must go now. She wants a better life for her children and fears that the war in Ukraine will make that impossible if she remains.
And Surkho, from Magas but not further identified, says that the number who are really planning to go is far larger than the number who say they will. They will support the Kremlin out of fear even as they prepare the groundwork to leave.
According to Urban who conducted the interviews, Ingush who have been social active are the most likely to want to leave now. “They thought earlier about departing, but the war has become for them a trigger and forced them to take a final decision.” But precisely because they are active citizens, they don’t have a lot of money, and that makes leaving difficult.