Monday, September 01, 2014

Caucasus Report

Chechnya, Ingushetia Prepare For Border Talks

Chechen and Ingushetian presidents Ramzan Kadyrov (right) and Yunus-Bek Yevkurov (file photo)
Chechen and Ingushetian presidents Ramzan Kadyrov (right) and Yunus-Bek Yevkurov (file photo)
The heads of the two commissions tasked with delimiting the border between Chechnya and Ingushetia, Chechen parliament speaker Dukvakha Abdurakhmanov and Republic of Ingushetia Prime Minister Musa Chiliyev met in Magas last week for preliminary talks on how to set about doing so.

Both men expressed confidence that it will prove possible to reach a mutually acceptable agreement in bilateral talks without mediation by a third party.

Such statements seem optimistic, even unrealistic, however, in light of the two sides’ conflicting claims and approaches.

Republic of Ingushetia President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov says the border has already been defined by the legislation on municipalities passed by both republics, and all that remains to be done is to demarcate it.

Yevkurov’s Chechen counterpart Ramzan Kadyrov for his part has accused Ingushetia of encroaching on Chechen territory.

He wants the border redrawn in such a way as to drastically reduce the size of Ingushetia, already the smallest of Russia’s 83 federation subjects, leaving two small areas separated by Chechen territory.

Just one of numerous grievances the Chechens harbor against their ethnic cousins, the border dispute centers on the Sunzha and Malgobek districts that are currently part of the Republic of Ingushetia. 

Chechen Republic head Kadyrov insists those districts are historically part of Chechnya, as does Abdurakhmanov.

Kadyrov argues that the administrative border between the two republics should be moved to where it was prior to the merger in 1934 of the Chechen Autonomous Oblast with the Ingush Autonomous Oblast to form the Checheno-Ingush Autonomous Oblast (which was upgraded two years later to the status of an Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic or ASSR).

Misleading Claim

Ingush historian Mussa Zurabov claims to be in possession of an archival document and a map dating from the early 1920s which do not show Sunzha and Malgobek as belonging to the Chechen Autonomous Oblast.

That claim is misleading, however, for two reasons.

First, the edict he cites is on the establishment of the Grozny guberniya, not the Chechen Autonomous Oblast.  And second, the constituent parts of the Mountain Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, including the Chechen Autonomous Oblast, were not administratively subdivided into raions.

In the early 1920s, most of what are today the Malgobek and Sunzha raions were part of the Sunzha Cossack Okrug that together with the city of Grozny was subsumed into the Chechen Autonomous Oblast in February 1929.

The Checheno-Ingush ASSR was abolished after Josef Stalin ordered the 1944 deportation of the entire Chechen and Ingush nations to Central Asia, and the allocation of its southwestern Prigorodny district to the neighboring North Ossetian ASSR.

In 1956, then Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev exonerated the Chechens and Ingush of collaboration with Nazi Germany, which Stalin had given as the reason for the deportation, and they began to return from exile.

The Chechen-Ingush ASSR was reconstituted, but within slightly different borders: North Ossetia retained the Prigorodny district, while Daghestan kept the Aukhovsky raion in the east of the republic.

In September 1991, the Chechen parliament declared Chechnya’s independence from the disintegrating USSR. 

Ingushetia formally separated from Chechnya in June 1992. Talks between the two republics’ leaders, Djokhar Dudayev and Ruslan Aushev, on formalizing the border were disrupted by the 1994-1996 war.

In 2004, Aushev’s successor Murat Zyazikov and Kadyrov’s father Akhmed-hadji, then Chechen president, signed a formal statement stipulating that the article of the Chechen constitution designating Sunzha Raion part of the Chechen Republic refers only to the settlements of Sernovodskoye and Assinovskaya, both in the extreme east of Ingushetia. It says the Chechen Republic constitution does not extend to the rest of the territory of Sunzha Raion.

An Ingush journalist who was present at the signing of that agreement said last month that the two men viewed it as final, definitive, and not subject to revision.  Chechen officials, however, say it is not legally binding.

Kadyrov raised the question of formalizing the border between the two republics in early August during a public altercation with Yevkurov over a counterterror operation on Ingushetian territory in which Chechen fighters were killed. 

When, after several weeks, no senior Russian official had commented on the acrimonious exchange, Kadyrov then positioned himself as the leader and protector of the Vainakh people, meaning both the Chechens and Ingush.

The Vainakh People

That affirmation was one of the clearest indications yet that Kadyrov aspires to extend his formal influence beyond Chechnya’s borders, starting with Ingushetia.

Abdurakhmanov subsequently discussed the concept of Vainakh identity at length in an hour-long interview with Kadyrov’s press spokesman, Alvi Karimov, aired on Chechen television on September 6.  

Abdurakhmanov insisted that the Chechens and Ingush constitute a single Vainakh people, and that the differentiation between Chechens and Ingush was deliberately promoted first by the Tsarist and then by the Soviet authorities to undermine that unity.

He also spoke of the rapturous reception Kadyrov received from the Ingush population when he attended the celebrations in June to mark the 20th anniversary of Ingushetia’s separation from Chechnya.

Abdurakhmanov contrasted the respect for Kadyrov shown by the Ingush people on that occasion with the disdainful behavior of the Ingush leadership.

Abdurakhmanov also enumerated several other grievances harbored by the Chechen leadership against the Ingush in general, and Yevkurov in particular.

The examples he cited show the Ingush as parochial, inefficient, dishonest, and unappreciative of the opportunities for personal and professional advancement they enjoyed in the late Soviet period as residents of the then Chechen-Ingush ASSR. 

He  recalled that, from 1957 to 1990, the (largely ceremonial) position of chairman of the Checheno-Ingush Oblast Soviet was occupied by an Ingush, and that numerous prominent Ingush politicians, including Aushev and  Zyazikov, grew up in Grozny.

Abdurakhmanov did not hide his contempt for Yevkurov, whom he excoriated for claiming in an interview with “Rossiiskaya gazeta” that the Chechens who fled to Ingushetia during the 1994-1996 and 1999-2000 wars were a source of prostitution and drug addiction.

Abdurakhmanov suggested Ingush officials simply exacted sexual favors from Chechen women left without male family members to protect them. Abdurakhmanov did not, however, mention a fatal traffic accident in Grozny several years ago caused by Yevkurov’s brother.

Abdurakhmanov further enumerated, and proceeded to refute on legal grounds, virtually every statement Yevkurov has made regarding the border dispute.

Specifically, Abdurakhmanov pointed out that the concept of “accepted borders” (sostyoyavshiyesya granitsy), which Yevkurov has repeatedly invoked has no basis in law. He also insisted that the Chechens have proposed on numerous occasions delimiting the border, but the Ingush have always sought to postpone doing so. Yevkurov has argued the opposite.

In mid-September, Russia's presidential envoy to the North Caucasus Federal District Aleksandr Khloponin finally ordered  Kadyrov and Yevkurov to refrain from further public verbal attacks on each other. 

The two men have complied with that warning, although Ingushetia’s Interior Minister Aleksandr Trofimov has since publicly rejected the Chechen account of another counterterror operation, this time in Sunzha district, in which Chechen fighters were killed.

Delegations from the two republics met last week in Pyatigorsk with federal land registry officials and reached consensus on the ownership of some 15,000 hectares of land.

Ten thousand hectares in the extreme north-west of Chechnya in the vicinity of Goragorsk , which the Ingush were using for agricultural purposes, were formally designated part of the Chechen Republic, as were a further 5,000 hectares in Ingushetia’s Sunzha district.

Whether that ruling was intended to induce Kadyrov to scale down his demands is not clear. Yevkurov’s term as republic head expires in 13 months. If Moscow continues to view him as a necessary counterweight to Kadyrov, it cannot afford to weaken him by rendering Ingushetia untenable.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Ingush from: Ingushetia
September 26, 2012 22:38
"Ingush people decided to give their land to Chechnya"

If they want more we will give them more.
In Response

by: Ingush from: moscow
September 27, 2012 09:39
Ramzan, please "subsume" all of Ingushetia. Maybe we'll start living like normal people at last.
In Response

by: Ingush from: New-York
September 28, 2012 19:41
only after we kick Russians out.
In Response

by: Alexander Smollett
September 29, 2012 02:39
Normal people who live in fear and are being murdered by Putin's dog nicknamed academic. Have you ever been treated fairly by Russia? No!
In Response

by: Jack from: US
September 28, 2012 20:02
my mother is Chechen who saw the light and became Christian. She says Ingush are jackals who steal from Chechens and sell to Russians for cheap. Chechens would not have trouble teaching Ingush a lesson or two, just like Ossetians did in 1990-ies
In Response

by: Ingush Sila
September 29, 2012 16:26
Oh yeah, you will teach us a lesson, what stops you? Come on.
In Response

by: Jack from: US
September 29, 2012 16:56
what is your point? Ingush fled in panic like rats from Ossetians, who tought them a good lesson. My mother says Chechens should teach Ingush a lesson too because Ingush steal from Chechens, not just land but livestock too. Ingush are called Gypsies of Caucasus
In Response

by: Alex from: Germany
October 01, 2012 13:03
"Jack" is has no Chechen mother, he is not from the US, he is just a Vladimir or Boris from Moscow trying to stir hate among the peoples of the caucasus. Do not let him fool you.
In Response

by: Jack from: US
October 01, 2012 18:17
My mother says Ingush stole a goat from my uncle Ahmad and sold it to Russian soldiers in Nasran' for like nothing.
My mother says Ingush deserve a good lesson
In Response

by: Chechenets
October 01, 2012 21:14
Jack I've heard similar stories but the other way around.
My mother said that unarmed Ingush in the Ossetian-Ingush conflict of 1992 gave Russian soldiers vodka, while they were drunk they disarmed them, stole their BTR-80, T-72 and sold their equipment to Chechens across the border. She also told me that 12 Ingush thieves captured 54 peaceful Russian Vityaz (former OSNAZ) spetsnaz soldiers. They sold the guns and special equipment to Chechens too.
Russian government could do nothing to stop the thefts which started after 6 days of the beginning of the conflict. The situation with thefts and hostage-taking of peaceful Russian soldiers became critical. So, the Russians contacted Ingush general Aushev asking him to try to pacify the annoying Ingush thieves. After that the hero of the USSR general Aushev, using his 'avtoritet' asked Ingush to stop thefts of Russian soldiers and equipment. So, the Ingush listen to him and stopped.
I thought they were just made-up stories to make Ingush look bad, but then I've read about them on the Internet:
In Response

by: Muslims hate from: Rusnya
October 02, 2012 01:10
In the nearest future.
Year of 2014. American troops withdrawn from Afghanistan, Assad executed and pro-democracy government installed in Syria. Libyan volunteers returned temporarily to their bases from their Jihad in Syria.
Russia commits another genocide of Muslims in the Caucasus.
Volunteers from Afghanistan, Syria, Libya coming in great numbers to help war for independence in the Caucasus money and weapons delivered from Saudi Arabia and Qatar. NATO concerned about genocide and wants to introduce peacekeepers.
Olympic games boycotted.
The End

of rusnya.

by: Anonymous
September 29, 2012 13:45
"The examples he cited show the Ingush as parochial, inefficient, dishonest, and unappreciative of the opportunities for personal and professional advancement they enjoyed in the late Soviet period as residents of the then Chechen-Ingush ASSR."
"He recalled that, from 1957 to 1990, the (largely ceremonial) position of chairman of the Checheno-Ingush Oblast Soviet was occupied by an Ingush, and that numerous prominent Ingush politicians, including Aushev and Zyazikov, grew up in Grozny."

Kafirov forgot to mention that Ingushetia part had only 3 collective farms and one public toilet. Where as Chechnya part had all the goodies.

by: Ingush from: New-York
September 30, 2012 19:52
"Turkish pilots killed by Assad, not in crash: leaked documents"
Russian “Guidance”
A subsequently leaked file, also sent from the presidential palace and addressed to all heads of units of the Syrian foreign intelligence, reads: “Based on information and guidance from the Russian leadership comes a need to eliminate the two Turkish pilots detained by the Special Operations Unit in a natural way and their bodies need to be returned to the crash site in international waters.”
Saturday, 29 September 2012
Patiently awaiting first shipment of Stinger and Javelin missiles from our New Turkish Ally.
From the Caucasus, with love.

by: Chechen from: Chechnya
October 01, 2012 08:30
To Jack from US of Russia: What have you been drinking, buddy?
In Response

by: Alex from: Germany
October 01, 2012 13:08
I guess some homemade vodka on a methanol basis...
In Response

by: Anonymous
October 01, 2012 16:11
He loves samogon. When he drinks samogon he thinks that his Ossetian mother is a Chechen.

About This Blog

This blog presents analyst Liz Fuller's personal take on events in the region, following on from her work in the "RFE/RL Caucasus Report." It also aims, to borrow a metaphor from Tom de Waal, to act as a smoke detector, focusing attention on potential conflict situations and crises throughout the region. The views are the author's own and do not represent those of RFE/RL.