Early this week, residents of the Ossetianvillage of Zilgi seized several dozen Ingush traveling by bus to the town ofMineralnye Vody, and held them hostage. The hostage-takers wanted toexchange them for their own relatives, who had been kidnapped by Ingushbandits. Government officials managed to persuade the villagers to releasethe passengers after they promised to find and rescue the Ossetian hostages.(Kommersant-daily, June 9)
This latest crisis has occurred at a moment when the Ossetian and Ingushauthorities had succeeded in making real steps to overcome the consequencesof the 1992 Ossetian-Ingush conflict. Of the 32,000 Ingush refugeesofficially registered in the city of Vladikavkaz and North Ossetia’sPrigorodny district, some 23,000 have now returned to the homes they fled in1992. Only a few hundred people are left who still want to return. This hasbeen confirmed by the offices of the Russian president’s representative inNorth Ossetia and Ingushetia. Clearly, however, there are still people whowant to make capital out of the refugee issue. The conflict will die downonly when the possibility of playing profitable financial and politicalgames disappears. (Nezavisimaya gazeta, June 9)
LEADERS AND LAGGARDS IN THE CIS ECONOMIES.