Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 125

Tensions in North Ossetia have risen sharply following the murders last weekend of two Ossetians in a district bordering Ingushetia. Local Ossetians insist that Ingush were responsible. North Ossetia’s leaders have taken steps to regroup and deploy forces of the Ministry of Internal Affairs who, together with the local population, will patrol all of the border settlements round the clock. These heightened security measures are to remain in force until the situation is normalized. Meanwhile, Ossetians are blockading villages with ethnic Ingush inhabitants in the disputed Prigorodny district of North Ossetia, and demanding that the Ingush be expelled from North Ossetia. Ingush living in North Ossetia have begun to flee the republic. According to Ruslan Aushev, president of Ingushetia, it was not Ingush who were responsible for the murders. Aushev points out that such events occur whenever there is a real hope of settling the Ossetian-Ingush conflict. (NTV, RTR, ORT, June 27)

Sporadic incidents of violence have broken out in the region ever since the all-out confrontation between Ossetians and Ingush over Prigorodny district in 1992. The election last January of Aleksandr Dzasokhov as president of North Ossetia raised hopes that the conflict could be resolved since Dzasokhov, unlike his predecessor, had had no involvement in the conflict. The latest murders, added to recent kidnappings by Ingush of Ossetians and by Ossetians of Ingush, suggest that these hopes were vain.