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Analysis, book reviews and photography from Abkhazia and the wider Caucasus — updates when time permits

North Ossetia and Ingushetia sign agreement over Prigorodny District

Window on Eurasia draws attention to a story which RFE/RL seems not to have covered: on 17 December Taymuraz Mamsurov, President of North Ossetia-Alania, and Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, President of Ingushetia, signed an agreement over the Prigorodny District.

The conflict over the Prigorodny District is one of the many conflicts due to Stalin’s meddling with boundaries. In 1944 the Ingush were deported by Stalin to Central Asia as one of the so-called ‘guilty peoples’. The eastern part of the Prigorodny District had been part of the Chechen-Ingush ASSR up to that point, but was then transferred to the North-Ossetian ASSR. In 1957 under Khrushchev the Ingush were allowed to return to the Caucasus, but the Prigorodny District was not rehabilitated to the Chechen-Ingush ASSR, even though some Ingush returned there clandestinely.

Then under Glasnost, the Ingush demanded that the Prigorodny District should finally be returned to them, backed by the recently passed Soviet law on territorial rehabilitation. Tensions between Ingush and Ossetians slowly escalated culminating in a week of violence in October and November of 1992 in which some 600 Ingush were killed and some 65,000 expelled, versus just 52 Ossetian deaths and 9,000 Ossetian refugees.

The conlict has not been solved since. The current agreement provides in the return of the Ingush refugees to their homes (and not just to other accomodations within Prigorodny District) in return for the District staying with North-Ossetia. It would indeed be good news if the refugees could really return to their homes. But the fact that this hasn’t received wider coverage may indicate that the settlement is not yet final.

Filed under: Ingushetia, North Ossetia, , , , , , , ,

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