Categories
1. Russia Blogs

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Video Clip Saying Putin Ordered Yevkurov to Give Land to Chechnya Attracting Attention


Paul Goble
            Staunton, April 10 – A video clip put out by the “Revolution of Consciousness” group, an anti-Kremlin organization, says that Vladimir Putin ordered Ingushetia’s Yunus-Bek Yevkurov to hand over 26,000 hectares of land to Chechnya last fall, an action that has triggered the demonstrations which have roiled his republic ever since.
            The 25-minute Youtube clip has already attracted 60,000 views and, although without corroboration of any kind, will likely have an impact in Ingushetia, leading some anti-Yevkurov to redirect their anger from him to Moscow but causing others to conclude he had no choice and is not the traitor they thought (youtube.com/watch?v=81BbjTuv9fE&fbclid=IwAR12-L7HmKwBsME80MEcy7XUmIEzwQdhIEJNBz1Ew5RDyvPVioTnqSJazYo).
            Meanwhile, arrests and court hearings continued in Ingushetia, and the Russian authorities shifted some of the Ingush prisoners to Kabardino-Balkaria in the hopes of using the trials to divide the Ingush and the Circassians, two groups that have been mutually supportive for some time.
            But this traditional divide-and-rule strategy doesn’t appear to be working this time, Israeli analyst Avraam Shmulyevich says. Instead, Circassian activists from the region have repeated their four-square support for the Ingush opposition as chief defenders now of the common cause of all non-Russians  and of Russians outside of Moscow (region.expert/circassia-ingushetia).
                Andzor Kabard says that “what is taking place in Ingushetia concerns not only the Ingush. The only people who have come into the streets and defended constitutional rights by peaceful means despite provocations by the Russian siloviki are the Ingush who have shown us what a small but free nation is capable of if its people are strong in spirit.”
            We Circassians number in the millions, mostly of course in Turkey. We love to talk about this. But for some reasons we do not go out into the streets in a comparable number.” The Ingush are showing the way.
            And Ibragim Yaganov seconds that idea: “Today the numerically small but grat Ingush people is in the avantgarde of the defense of the constitutional system.”
            But perhaps the most important comments about the direction things are moving in Ingushetia and the likelihood that Yevkurov will fail to calm the situation and will be replaced in good time comes from Tanzila Chabiyeva, a scholar at the Moscow Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology (caucasustimes.com/ru/tanzila-chabieva-o-tom-kakoj-budet-ingushetija-posle-repressij).
                She tells Prague’s Caucasus Times that Ingushetia “will never be what it was before” the protests began last fall.  The Ingush people do not accept the decision of the Russian Constitutional court, and they will “continue to struggle for their rights.”  Moreover, it appears that “this struggle will be quite prolonged.”
            The repressive actions of the republic government are only making the situation worse, she says. They are in no way leading to a resolution.
            According to Chabiyeva, “the authorities and civil society have distanced themselves one another to a dangerous point. This is obvious. The rating of the republic authorities is so loyal and the authority of the leadership has fallen so much that today we are already seeing a split in the closest entourage of Yevkurov. 
            Those closest to him “are leaving him.” That means, the ethnographer continues, that “the entire situation will be resolved in a short time but it will be resolved in an extremely radical way.”
            Yevkurov is very much involved in the repressions, Chabiyeva says. He is a military man and expects discipline. He may need Moscow’s help but he is very much behind the line his republic government is pursuing. But what it is doing is not suppressing dissent but exacerbating the situation.
            Moscow is supporting Yevkurov in the hopes that he can be successful, in order to avoid looking like it is backing down when faced with public pressure and so that the protests in that republic will not infect other republics in the region. Getting rid of Yevkurov right now would be a manifestation of weakness. 
            According to Chabiyeva, Moscow will get rid of Yevkurov relatively soon, after there is a pause in the protests; but it will replace him with another military type with close ties to the Presidential administration rather than the businessman or the economist many in Ingushetia would prefer to see in his place.

Window on Eurasia — New Series