Ingurs is embittered after the validation of the new frontier

Thousands of Ingush have been demonstrating for several weeks (here November 27) in Magas, their capital, which feel offended by the route between their region and neighboring Chechnya.
Thousands of Ingush have been demonstrating for several weeks (here November 27) in Magas, their capital, which feel offended by the route between their region and neighboring Chechnya. Musa Sadulayev / AP

A mixture of depression and bitterness has grasped the small territory of Ingushetia in the North Caucasus, after the decision of the Russian Constitutional Court on Thursday (6 December) to recognize the legitimacy of a controversial boundary of a border with Chechnya. Signed at the beginning of October by the leaders of these small republics bordering a Muslim majority, both members of the Russian Federation, this agreement caused an unprecedented frenzy among the Ingushes, who felt they had been damaged by the partition.

In response, thousands of protesters have been demonstrating for weeks, until night and day occupy the public space in the city of Magas, the capital, a phenomenon unknown so far in Russia. They took the case to court to report fraud at the time of ratification of the agreement by the local parliament and called for a referendum. On October 30, the Constitutional Court of Ingush decided in their favor that the agreement could not "Result without legal consequences for the authorities, organizations and citizens of the Republic of Ingushetia before it is approved by a referendum". In vain

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The document "The creation of borders between Ingushetia and Chechnya does not contradict the Constitution of the Russian Federation"Valeri Zorkine, president of the Russian Constitutional Court, is located in St. Petersburg, closing the door to the last resort.

Angrily, Barak Chermurziev, a former economics teacher who became one of the pillars of the Magas dispute, wrote on his Facebook account:

"Only the weak who demand justice, the strong establish it alone (…) It is time to move from the humiliating position of" always asking "to that of a man who" asks "for justice.It is time to understand in what system we live It is a cruel, ruthless, cynical system … "

In the minds of the protesters, there is no doubt that the Kremlin supports the project.

MEP Zakri Mamilov, who had gone to St. Petersburg to plead the Ingush case, also spoke against him. "A purely political decision". "Most people and elected officials do not perceive the opposite, so we will insist on holding a referendum because there was a decision by our Constitutional Court and no one has canceled it", he says, before adding a sigh: "Today, 99% of Inguscia's population is in mourning."

One 'too much humiliation

The Ingushed Electoral Commission, however, stated that it would not respond to the request for a popular consultation. The head of this small territory of less than 500,000 inhabitants, Younous-Bek Evkurov, tried to be reassuring: "The defined border is purely nominal, there will be no barbed wire or border post." On the contrary, he begged, "We want to give an example to all the regions of the North Caucasus". But from the beginning of the dispute, his authority is increasingly challenged.

For a majority of Ingushes, this sharing, which deprives them according to almost 10% of their land, is a "humiliation" too much. Deported like the Chechens under Stalin, they never admitted the loss, on their return, of part of their territory for the benefit of North Ossetia. Today they feel even more cheated than unlike the Chechens – with whom they formed a single territory of the Soviet time – they never had an independenceist inclination, even if they were put on the side of the two Russian-Chechen wars over the years 1990-2000. Poor, Ingushetia today claims an identity based on its only asset, its land.

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A large part of its inhabitants are also suspicious of the Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, who is increasingly demonstrating his ambitions in the region. Put in power in 2007 by Vladimir Putin, he has since benefited from the constant support of the Kremlin leader. "I am grateful to the judges who made the right decision, he told the press on the evening of the decision of the Constitutional Court of Russia. And I invite all those interested in the border territory of the Chechen Republic to come, to develop it and to invest. "

For Neil Hauer, expert specialist in the region:

"The borders of the whole region have been changed so many times before and during the Soviet period that the legalization of a new change opens a Pandora's box".

Isabelle Mandraud (Moscow, correspondent)

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