Our neighbours: Ingushetia
30/04/2010 10:33
Gocha Guniava
"The Club of exsperts", exspert

Prominent German philosopher wrote in the beginning of the XIX century that "a spirit reaches it absolute fullness, absolute independence and complete unity with itself only in peoples of the Caucasus. It achieves self-determination, self-development and by that it advances history of the world. And progress in the world history only happens due to the Caucasus race".

This great philosopher could only make such categorical assessments based on a profound knowledge of history of Caucasian peoples, psychology of Caucasians and their intellectual abilities.

It is not improbable that in order to achieve its military and political goals Wehrmacht of Hitler also took into account attitude of its great ancestor toward Caucasians and in every possible way was trying to find a common ground with them. Advantage of decent of their Caucasian race, genetical talent and other positive qualities were especially noted. Germans were easily establishing contacts with their authoritative representatives - the fact that later cost some peoples, mainly Chechens and Ingush, and they were exiled to the Central Asia.

The best chance to win favour of the Caucasians was in hands of their northern neighbour that for 200 years stubbornly tried with sword and slyness to break the will of these freedom-loving peoples while honesty and openness would have prevented both sides from experiencing so much pain and so many casualties.

The Caucasus is one, united, but different entity with many facets. With its self-identity it is very interesting for the entire human civilization and attempts to break and dissolve and lessen it is doomed for failure. Its essence and unity was changed by neither setting its peoples against each other nor by their mass killings and resettlements.

And the Ingush are also a small, but integral part of this Hegelian unity that call themselves Ghalghai and in Georgian historiography they are known as Gligvi.


The Republic of Ingushetia is the smallest in terms of territory among subjects of the Russian Federation (because of disputed territories its size is given as either 3400 or 3600 km²). According to the 2009 census its population amounts to 520 000 people, 436 000 out of which are Ingush. It is notable that Ingushetia is in the first place in the Russian Federation with the birth rate. In 1992 population of Ingushetia was 211 000 and in 1998 it became 313 000. In 2002 there were 467 000 Ingush and in 2009 the figure was 536 000. In addition to the Ingush 92 000 Chechens and 6 000 Russians live in Ingushetia. After the wars in Chechnya Russian population in Ingushetia got considerably smaller.

According to the current Constitution Ingush and Russian languages are official languages in Ingushetia.

In 2000 the capital of Ingushetia was transferred from Nazran to Magas. The latter was especially built for his purpose.

Ingushetia has a territorial dispute with North Ossetia and Chechnya. Ingushetia considers part of the Prigorodny district that was given to North Ossetia that in the east borders with Vladikavkaz and a village of Khurikau that is populated by Ingush and which separates from the Kabardino-Balkarian border with just a thin strip of land as its historical territories.

Ingushetia and Chechnya dispute over a territory of the Sunzhen district that is situated on their border and which before belonged to the independent Cossack okrug of Sunzhen. Ingushetia also demands a return of villages of Bamut and Valerik that are populated by Ingush that that were taken away from them.

Ingushetia has 35 km border with Georgia and it passes along a high and inaccessible mountains.

The majority of population of Ingushetia is Sunni Muslims with its several branches. There are 15 Muslim communities, 45 mosques, 26 madrassahs registered in the republic. Islamic institute is in Ordzhonikidzevskaya settlement. All religious institutions are governed by religious department of Muslims of Ingushetia.

There are orthodox churches in a city of Karabulakh, settlement of Ordzhonikidzevskaya and Stanitsa Troitskaya.

The main law of the republic of Ingushetia is the constitution that was approved on February 27th 1994. According to it head of the republic is a president that is elected for a five-year term. Before this posts were occupied by Ruslan Aushev and Murat Zyazikov. Since December 2008 this post has been held by Yunus-Bek Yevkurov that was elected at the nomination of the Russian President.

The main legislative body is Peoples' Council (Parliament) 21 members of which are elected in the country's elections.

Together with Chechens Ingush are descendents of Dzoordzooks that were eradicated in XIV century by Tamerlan. The part that survived was forced to settle in inaccessible mountains. Missionaries from Georgia introduced Christianity to pagan Ingush. Famous Chrisitan monument of Tkha-bya-yer-d built in XI century can still be found there. Starting from the XVI century Islam started to spread in Ingushetia from Chechnya and later it became a dominant religion.

Before Ingush did not have their own, united country.

In August 1810, in Vladikavkaz, representatives of six powerful Ingush Teips signed an act of subordination to Russia. According to it they were allowed to use fertile lands of the banks of the River Terek and on their part they were obliged to provide 1 000 men army and let Russian troops to pass untroubled on their territory and provide all possible assistance. Construction of Nazran fortress was started in the same year.

During the Caucasus wars Ingush were fighting on the side of Shamil and they established two independent villayet in Arshtin and Galashk.

In 1858 mass uprisings happened in Ingushetia that are known as Nazran Insurrection. The reason for the rebellion was a decision by military administration of the Russian Empire to govern population by military rules. Participants of the rebellion were severely punished.

During the Russian-Turkish war the authorities formed units of a hundred horsemen from representatives of Ossetian and Ingush population to which later were added Kabardians and Balkars. These units became a foundation for the formation of well-known "wild division" and which later was commanded by Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich Romanov.

After the October Revolution independent Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus was created through active support of Turkey and as its ally used to enjoy wide financial, political and military support. The White Army of Denikin threw its government out which later was found shelter in Tbilisi.

In 1924 Ingushetia autonomous district was created and in 1936 united Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Republic was established.

In the first years of the World War II German Army managed to occupy part of the Northern Caucasus. On various fronts more than 6 000 Ingush officers and soldiers were fighting in the ranks of the Soviet Army. 2 000 were killed and 27 received title of the hero of the Soviet Union.

At the same time the Peoples' Commissariat of the internal affairs had registered up to 200 Chechen-Ingush armed formations where more than 3 000 people fought against the Soviet rule.

In October 1943 Deputy People's Commissar of internal Affairs Bogdan Kobulov that visited Chechen-Ingush republic reported to Moscow that Chechens and Ingush in masses were refusing to obey conscription, are going into woods and are fighting against the Soviet authorities. According to him, at that time there were 38 religious sects on the territory of the republic which included more than 20 000 people. Contacts of their leaders and those of armed formations Khasan Israelov and Bairbek Sharipov with representatives of German commanders were identified.

On February 23rd 1944 478 000 people were exiled form Chechnya and Ingushetia to Kazakhstan and central Asia and out of those 91 000 were Ingush.

The autonomy that was abolished in March 1944 was restored on January 9th 1957 with the status of Chechen-Ingush Autonomous republic.

After Dzhokhar Dudayev's coming into power and declaration of Chechnya independence and in accordance with the decision of the Public referendum Ingushetia joined the Russian federation.

In autumn 1992 there occurred an armed confrontation between Ingushetia and North Ossetia on territorial grounds. It could not change existing at the time borders but forced the entire Ingush population of North Ossetia to leave their homes and settle in Ingushetia. Ossetian-Ingush conflict still remains unresolved.

History of Ingushetia of the last twenty year, its achievements and failures taking into account of the objective situation are linked to three periods of the governance of three presidents.

All three of them were high rank officers of Russian law enforcement agencies. All three of them were trying to adjust instructions received from Moscow to the existing situation and support their people.

Rusaln Aushev - general of the Soviet Army and a hero of Afghanistan (he confirmed his name as a hero during the Beslan Tragedy as well) was the first president of Ingushetia. He was elected as a president in 1992 but soon stepped down as he could not fulfill his promise to the people about return of refugees to the Prigorodny district. This step did not prevent him from being elected for the second time in February 1993 with 00.94% votes. Through efforts of Ruslan Aushev in 1994 Ingushetia was declared a free economical zone and many laws were liberalized.

During the Russian-Chechen war Aushev tried to soften severity of Russian troops towards Caucasians. He also unsuccessfully proposed to transfer district and city department of law enforcement agencies, at least, under subordination of the republican authorities.

Ruslan Aushev tried to restore and strengthen good-neighbourly relations with Georgia. For this purpose he proposed the Georgian side to cooperate in economical, cultural, transport, sport and youth and other spheres. These initiatives were not realized as considering results of the Russian - Chechen wars Russian authorities established a policy of strict isolation for the North Caucasus.

In May 2002 governance of Aushev in Ingushetia came to an end.
Ruslan Aushev said in an interview that he gave to Ogonyok magazine on February 2010 about the difficult political and criminogenic situation in the North Caucasus that "Creation of the a new federal district of the North Caucasus will not result in radical resolution of problems in the Caucasus. Difficulties cannot be solved only by increasing subsides. Small people – the Ingush are looking for their 180 compatriots who vanished. Their relatives cannot be bribed with money. Authorities spent so much money on useless measures it would have been enough to build three new Caucasus and make them prosper. In North Caucasus they not just shoot workers of governmental and law enforcement bodies but they hunt them. It should not have come to that, to such aggravation of the situation. It should be understood that there is an ideological and armed confrontation taking place between Salafits and followers of the traditional Islam. It is perceived that the latter includes authorities that lost prestige ad respect and religious leaders that are behind the times. Radicals are gathering more and more support among youth. And fighting them with arm in hand is impossible. Alexander Khloponin who arrived from Siberia brought his deputies from Siberia as well. It would have been better to appoint 100 psychologists to work as his advisers and who would look into soul of freedom-loving Caucasians and would have worked out recommendations as to how find common ground with them. Forms of fight with arms and blackmail exhausted its resources" – publicly declared Aushev.

In spring 2002 General Ruslan Aushev was replaced on the post of the president of Ingushetia by former chief of the Astrakhan department of the Russian security services Murat Zyazikov.

During his presidency certain attention was paid to construction of accommodation and industrial facilities, fight against corruption. But in the existing situation he was unable to have a desired effect on any negative events.

In October 2008 Murat Zyazikov stepped down as the president of Ingushetia.

The third president - Yunus-Bek Yevkurov , general of the Russian Army and a hero of Russia was one of the organizers of well-known special operation of Kosovo. After six months of becoming the president on June 22nd 2009 he miraculously survived terrorist attack.

Notwithstanding that Yunus-Bek Yevkurov is still trying its best to find a way out of this difficult situation which famous American political scientist Dimitri Rhymes called "political labyrinths of the North Caucasus".

Yunus-Bek Yevkurov is announced a proposition about settlement of unemployed population into the Urals and eastern Siberia and which was assessed as another attempt to deport the Ingush people. It had enough courage to raise an initiative on stopping the practice of sending workers of the law enforcement agencies from Russia as the latters were associated with facts of abduction of people, unjustified brutality and illegal acts.

Yevkurov also visited Kuwait who promised him to invest in economy and agriculture of Ingushetia and also to build a very large Islamic complex in city of Magas.

Despite such attempts of the president situation in Ingushetia is becoming graver. There seems to be no end to special operations and repressions againts insurgents that both sides cost many lives. There is no end to people kidnappings, punishment of innocents and actions that violate dignity and that cause outrage and tough responses in the population and especially among youth.

The Ingush believe that their self-sacrificing fight will succeed and peace will reign on their land.

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