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Russia/North Caucasus

CrisisWatch Russia/North Caucasus

Deteriorated Situation

Following controversial 26 Sept deal with Chechnya on demarcation of administrative boundary between regions, month saw political crisis in Ingushetia and increased tensions with neighbouring republic Chechnya. Thousands rallied in front of regional parliament in Ingush capital Magas 4 Oct as lawmakers debated deal; bodyguards of regional leader Ynus-Bek Yevkurov fired into air after protesters threw plastic bottles at him. Govt reported parliament approved deal, although some lawmakers claimed vote was falsified. Protests continued in main square 5-7 Oct, and from 8 Oct in front of state radio and TV, demanding Yevkurov’s resignation and referendum on deal; media reported large numbers of women and elderly among protesters. Leadership claimed deal only exchanges unpopulated agricultural land, however protesters claim it is unfair and detrimental to region and was made without consultation; adding to pressure on Yevkurov, Ingushetia’s constitutional court ruled decision illegal, saying it should be decided by referendum, however Yevkurov refused to accept ruling. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said protesters would be “held accountable”, and 19 Oct reportedly visited villager in area concerned. Presidential envoy Alexander Matovnikov and local civil society representatives met 16 Oct, decided to hold session of Ingush Commission on Cooperation with Chechen govt agencies on border dispute; Ingush authorities said meeting took place next day; Russia’s RBC media reported that Kremlin officials acknowledged law had “inconsistencies”.  Amnesty International said one of its researchers monitoring protests in Magas was abducted 6 Oct by men claiming to be security officials, who held him hostage for six days, beat him and subjected him to mock execution; Ingushetia interior ministry said it could not verify claims. In Dagestan, security forces reported they killed two suspected militants during counterterrorism operation 13 Oct in Khasavyurt region, where they have been conducting operations since mid-Sept. Military tribunal in Ingushetia 25 Oct upheld murder and torture convictions against seven security personnel including head of counter-terrorism centre, for killing, use of violence and extortion.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

11 Sep 2018
[Russia is] targeting the [African] regimes that do have not have very good relations with the west or who are dissatisfied with west like Sudan, Zimbabwe and CAR. The Guardian

Thierry Vircoulon

Senior Consultant, Central Africa
27 Aug 2018
[The rapprochement between Russia and Turkey] demonstrates a striking level of pragmatism in this relationship. Associated Press

Anna Arutunyan

Senior Analyst, Russia
6 Aug 2018
The current situation does not contribute to the post-war reconciliation [between Russia and Georgia] - it only fuels conflict with an increasing feeling of injustice for [people] living near the dividing line. Al Jazeera

Olesya Vartanyan

Analyst, Eastern Neighbourhood
5 Apr 2018
[The] assumption that [President Putin has] a grand evil plan only feeds the domestic myth of a Russia under siege. Newsweek

Anna Arutunyan

Senior Analyst, Russia
16 Mar 2018
Russia needs both the Syrian regime and Turkey. So it has to give a little bit to both and it has to ... make them equally angry, if that's what it wants. Rudaw

Joost Hiltermann

Program Director, Middle East and North Africa
9 Mar 2018
In the end [Moscow] will want a political solution in Syria, and economic reconstruction. For that they will need European input and money and investment. The Christian Science Monitor

Joost Hiltermann

Program Director, Middle East and North Africa

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Anna Arutunyan

Senior Analyst, Russia