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August 15, 2022 2:14 pm

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Window on Eurasia — New Series: All Ingush Would Come into the Streets at the Mufti’s Call, Sufi Says

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Paul Goble
            Staunton, November 6 – One of the aspects of the Ingush protest against the border accord between Yunus-Bek Yevkurov and Ramzan Kadyrov has been the role of religious leaders in organizing the population to oppose the deal, with some insisting it has been very large while others say it is minimal compared to the ethnic dimension.
            Yusup Dolgiyev, a Sufi adept from Nazran who was one of the organizers of the Magas demonstrations in October, says that religion and nationality are reinforcing as are the various schools and trends in Islam.  Trying to unpack them or play one group against another will be counter-productive (
            Yevkurov’s relations with the mufti,, Isa Khamkhoyev, have not been good; and last summer, Yevkurov sought to remove  him. “I told the mufti at the time: ‘Isa, just say the word, and the people will follow you.’ The mufti responded: ‘If we get dragged into politics, this will bring us little of value.”
            “The mufti, if he wanted, could easily have led the protests, but he doesn’t want to have any relations with Yevkurov or his policy,” Dolgiyev continues. “The mufti and the Council of Alims fulfill another role and look at this world in their own way.”  Yevkurov doesn’t understand this or understand Islam.
            As to the current dispute over the border, the Sufi adept says, “the best decision according to shariat law is a compromise which would satisfy all. He who does not seek compromise is unwise and lives not according to shariat.” Intelligent Chechens and Uzbeks would find a way.
            “We have a mass of issues with Kadyrov,” Dolgiyev says.  “But anyone who insults the Chechen people, insults us as well. I said this at the meting in Magas when god heads having listened to pseudo-historical tales began to shout that only the Ingush were genuine Vaynakhs.” That is nonsense.
            But it is true that “if Ramzan Kadyrov lived according to shariat, he would seek compromise. And Yevkurov could seek compromise with the people rather than running off to the Ingush in Moscow with complaints.”
            Ingush are united as a nation and by faith. Evidence of that was provided during the protests. On October 5, 60,000 Ingush came together to pray. A week later, that number had risen to 108,000, many of them Ingush OMON and siloviki.  Using divide-and-rule tactics simply isn’t going to work.
            “I do not think,” Dolgiyev continues, “that our people is so naïve that it is divided into two parts as a result of the conflict of Yevkurov and Khamkhoyev.” The two men need to talk with each other, with the elders, and with the Ingush people. Then everyone would be able to see who is in the right and who is not.
            Khamkhoyev was elected by the people and if he is in the wrong, the people will seek his removal, Dolgiyev says. “But we didn’t choose Yevkurov. He was assigned from Moscow. From the very first day of his time in the republic, we were dissatisfied with him … I prayed for him because he is our brother” but we found out what kind of “a brother he really is.”
            “I am 64,” Dolgiyev says. “I’m from an officer’s family. I served in the fleet and am a non-ethnic Russia in all respects. The name of my ancestor, an officer of the tsarist army is incised in marble on the Shipkin mount in Bulgaria. The Dolgiyevs fought for Russian in World War I, in the Civil War against Denikin, and in the Great Fatherland War.”
            “The Ingush people will follow the leaders” it chooses to the end. If he tells us to fight, we will fight; if he tells us to till the soil, we will do that. But the leader of  the Ingush people must listen to our elders.” Yevkurov isn’t doing that; and so he no longer can claim to be the leader of the Ingush nation.
            Dolgiyev’s remarks are just one indication that the dispute between Ingushetia and Chechnya over the border between them isn’t going to go away even if there is a court decision in Moscow. This has become a political issue and one that has ramifications far beyond the North Caucasus, analysts say. It will require a political decision (
            Meanwhile today, Chechnya’s Kadyrov has compounded the problem with an announcement that he plans to resettle Chechens in the area that Yevkurov has transferred from Ingushetia to Chechnya and to develop the area as a tourist center, something many Ingush will be outraged by (

Window on Eurasia — New Series