Ingushetia: Last Camp Closes, But Many Refugees Remain

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 5 Issue: 24

On June 10 the last remaining tents of the last remaining Chechen refugee camp in Ingushetia were dismantled in a modest ceremony. According to a June 11 article by Ivan Sukhov for Vremya Novostei, the authorities decided not to make a grand spectacle of the occasion. Some 576 former residents of the “Satsita” camp returned to Chechnya, while another 90 decided to seek other living quarters within Ingushetia.

Even though the authorities have thus succeed in liquidating one of the most visible reminders that the war in Chechnya is far from over, many refugees still remain in Ingushetia. According to figures that Sukhov obtained from migration officials, some 18,610 Chechens are living in some 148 compact settlements such as warehouses or factories rented by Russia’s Federal Migration Service. Another 18,357 are living in the private sector.

Contradicting the authorities, Chechen human rights advocates claim that about 1,000 refugees are still living in tents scattered about Ingushetia in various small concentrations. “These tents are not so striking as the camps in the open field, and this is the likely reason why the authorities don’t take them into consideration,” said a leader of the Council of Chechen Non-government Organizations.