Staunton,November 8 – Normally when someone appeals the decision of a lower court, he isasking the higher court to overturn the decision of the lower one. But that isnot what Ingushetia head Yunus-Bek Yevkurov has done. Instead, he is asking theRussian Constitutional Court to rule on the validity of the border accord hereached with Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov.
Therepublic court in fact did not rule on that issue. What it found was that theway in which Yevkurov sought to have the agreement ratified, by the republiclegislature rather than by a popular referendum as the republic constitution requires.Now, Yevkurov is asking the Russian court to rule on something else (rbc.ru/politics/08/11/2018/5be401019a794758835e7104?from=main).
That may seem a small thing, but thereare at least two reasons why it is anything but. On the one hand, it may meanthat the Moscow court will redefine the issues at stake in ways that will onlydeepen the alienation of the Ingush people or alternatively refuse to decidethe question Yevkurov is asking because he is not requesting it to overrule therepublic court.
And on the other – and this is byfar the more serious consequence – if the Russian court does rule in Yevkurov’sfavor, many Ingush are not going to accept the Moscow court’s finding.Moreover, they are going to be even more furious at Yevkurov for the obviouscontempt he is showing to his own republic’s basic law.
As a result, those who think adecision by the Russian Constitutional Court will settle the matter are wrong.Whatever that court does, it will not calm passions in Ingushetia unless theborder agreement Yevkurov and Kadyrov reached is rejected and unless the Ingushonce again are allowed to elect their own republic head rather than have himappointed by the Kremlin.
Today, Moscow media reported thatYevkurov had appealed to the Russian Constitutional Court asking it to determinewhether the agreement on the border between Ingushetia and Chechnya correspondsto the Russian constitution.Nothing was said about the republic court’sfinding or about ratification procedures.
The Russian court’s press officesaid that the court had received the appeal and that its secretariat had begun “preliminary”study of the issues at hand.Yevkurovfor his part refrained from any comment.Ingush opposition groups and Chechens who support Kadyrov and his bordergains have not yet weighed in either.
Meanwhile,an important article appeared in today’s Komsomolskayapravda.The paper’s Vladimir Vorsobinsaid he had gone to visit the republic in order to find out what was going on regardingthe border agreement. What he saw had forced him to ask the question: IsIngushetia in fact part of the Russian Federation? (kp.ru/daily/26905.4/3949969/).
Most Russians havefailed to appreciate that what is going on is “’a Caucasus Maidan’” becauseRussian television hasn’t covered the protests, the journalist says. “For the television,this is obvious haram – Arabic for unclear or prohibited.”Instead, Moscow has acted as if the borderdispute between Ingushetia and Chechnya was like one between Voronezh andLipetsk.
Russians thus do not understand thatthe dispute about the border is not about hectares of land, although theymatter, but about the respect that the Ingush feel they are not being showneither by the Russian authorities or by the ruler Moscow has imposed onthem.And Russians have not learnedsomething else that would surprise many of them.
In this dispute, Vorsobin says, theWahhabis are not the ones opposed to the border accord. Instead, these Islamistgroups are precisely the ones who have come out in support of Yevkurov and theofficial position of his government.This pattern doesn’t fit well into the Russian Federation, he suggests.