Political instability threatens Ingushetia

Human Rights Center ‘Memorial’ has accused the Ingush authorities of “not seeing the real problems of the republic as challenges but as threats to its leadership”.

Political instability is increasing slowly but surely in the federated republic of Ingushetia, in the Northern Caucasus, and it is feared the republic could suffer the same fate as neighbouring Chechnya. Human Rights Center ‘Memorial' [website], a federation of NGOs operating in the territories of the former Soviet Union, criticized the Ingush Government yesterday in Moscow. According to Memorial, the current political situation in the republic is a "clear example of the erosion of the democratic system and the democratic relationship with the community."

In the report [in Russian], Memorial urges the Ingush government and justice system to "take effective action in order to halt the massive and systematic violation of human rights", giving detailed descriptions of "illegal acts perpetrated by those in power: forced settlement displacement, murders, kidnappings, dissolution of peaceful protests, etc".

Another international organization, the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR, website) has been closely observing the situation in the Caucasus for some time. IWPR recently highlighted the "deepening crisis in Ingushetia", drawing particular attention to the confrontation between the authorities and their opponents, which it described as "increasingly violent". According to IWPR, the federated republic is becoming "the most volatile region of the Northern Caucasus".

Multiple factors
There is no single reason behind the escalating instability: questions of identity, the economic crisis, the large number of refugees and Islamic radicalism are all factors. There is a high rate of poverty and unemployment among the Ingush, due in no small part to the country's isolation: it is the only federated republic that does not have a border with Russia. The Ingush population finds itself caught between a corrupt political class and an increasingly popular pan-Caucasian Islamic movement.


Further information about Ingushetia: