‘Border Deal’ Between Russia’s Republics Sparks Protest
4 October, 2018

A controversial border agreement between Russia’s Ingush and Chechen republics has sparked large protests.

Protestors rallied on October 4 in front of the parliamentary office in Magas, Ingushetia’s regional capital, where local legislative officials recently voted to deliminate the border between the two regions.

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Critics of the deal say it illegally hands over parts of Ingushetia to Chechnya.

Land disputes between Chechnya and Ingushetia over the ownership of the Sunzhensky and Malgobek districts have been going on since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The two Russian republics used to be parts of the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, but the two regions failed to reach a formal agreement on borders when they became separate entities.

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Ingush regional head Yunus-Bek Yevkurov attempted to publically reconcile with the demonstrators, but faced a hostile crowd.

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“There are many people filming and taking photographs, local and state journalists, as well as plain-clothed federal authorities, all watching and filming," said Ruslan Mutsolgov, a local government official.

Yevkurov's bodyguards fired warning shots, after protesters threw trash toward him. Local police forces failed to intervene on his behalf.

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Later, lawmakers told the public that the law had not been finalized. However, the protestors refused to leave and demanded to meet with members of the Ingush parliament who had backed the agreement.

The full text of the agreement can be found here (in Russian).

According to local media outlets, more protests are scheduled for October 6, which local law enforcement officials say will be aimed at "expressing disagreement with the transfer of lands to Chechnya."

Later on October 4, the head of the Ingushetia Constitutional Court sided with the protestors, announcing that any border alterations must be approved by a direct referendum.

/By LP Luo