Staunton, April 23 – Thirty-one years ago this week, the RSFSR Supreme Soviet adopted the law “On the Rehabilitation of Repressed Peoples” thus enshrining in the legal code the 1989 declaration of the USSR Supreme Soviet “On the recognition as illegal and criminal of repressive actions against peoples subjected to forced resettlement and protecting their rights.”
Among the peoples who were deported who placed their hopes in this law were the Ingush who among other things had been deprived of their former territories when they did return from exile. The 1991 law specified that this territory most of it in North Ossetia should be returned to them.
But despite efforts to retake this land by force in the early 1990s and repeated demands by Ingush society since then, there not only has been no progress in that direction but the Ingush have lost an additional 10 percent of their territory, this time to Chechnya, as the result of a criminal deal between former republic head Yunus-Bek Yevkurov and Ramzan Kadyrov.
As a result, according to the independent Fortanga portal, “the Ingush have lost all hope” that the 1991 law will ever be enforced as long as the current government in Moscow remains and that the Ingush will finally get the justice they were promised but have never received (fortanga.org/2022/04/31-ya-vesna-zakona-o-reabilitaczii-repressirovannyh-narodov/).
Elberd Darbazanov, head of the Daymokkh Ingush National Cultural Society in the Prigorodny District, says that in the 31 years since the law was adopted, “practically nothing” has been done there as far as rehabilitation is concerned. The victims haven’t received monetary compensation, and the land hasn’t been given back as the law promised.
Even steps that could be done easily and cheaply haven’t occurred, he says. The 1991 law promised that toponyms would be returned to what they were before the deportation, but even that has not taken place.
Yakub Gogiyev, a historian who is a member of the Dzurdzuki historical-geography society, says that the law specifies that the Prigorodny district must go back to Ingushetia, but so far the Republic of North Ossetia with Moscow’s blessing and support have opposed all steps in that direction.
And Ruslan Mutsolgov, head of the Ingush section of the Yabloko Party, says that in his view and that of many others, “as long as United Russia holds power and controls regional elites, nothing will be done,” and the 1991 law will remain a dead letter. Too many other things would have to be done, including an honest assessment of Stalin, for any change to be possible.