Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 218

The upper house of the Russian parliament, the Federation Council, has unanimously adopted a resolution "On Measures to Overcome the Consequences of the Ossetian-Ingush Conflict of October-November 1992." (Interfax, November 14) The resolution aims to resolve a territorial conflict between Ingushetia and neighboring North Ossetia dating back to 1944, when Stalin deported the Ingush and the Chechens from their north Caucasus homelands and abolished the republic that bore their name. The deportees were allowed to return only in the mid-1950s and, to add insult to injury, the traditionally Ingush-occupied Prigorodny district was not returned to them but was instead transferred to North Ossetia. It has been a source of discord ever since. Resentment boiled over in 1992, when bloody confrontations between Ingush and Ossetians led to a mass exodus of ethnic Ingush from North Ossetia. Thousands of refugees are still waiting to return home and Ingushetia remains committed to regaining the territory by peaceful means.

President Ruslan Aushev of Ingushetia told the Monitor this week, however, that he is not hopeful that the Federation Council’s resolution will help to resolve the conflict. "The first document to define Ingushetia’s borders was the law on the formation of the Ingush Republic, dated June 4, 1992. Unfortunately, nothing was done at that time. Later, there were the Federation Council’s instructions, which were not obeyed. This resolution will not be obeyed either," Aushev told the Monitor.

"There have been many such resolutions… The government won’t define anything… I’ve heard this talk for the last five years," North Ossetian president Akhsarbek Galazov confirmed in an interview with the Monitor. "The boundaries of North Ossetia were defined long ago. Prigorodny district is part of North Ossetia," Galazov said. Naturally, Aushev does not share this opinion. "There is no law on the border between North Ossetia and the Chechen-Ingush republic restored in 1957! And consequently, the Ossetians’ claims to Prigorodny raion are unfounded," he reasoned.

But both presidents believe (although Galazov is more cautious in his assessments) that Moscow is chiefly to blame for the unsolved Ossetian-Ingush problem. "We are sending back Ingush refugees, because we cannot support them. In 1996, Moscow gave us only 13.5 billion rubles for the housing destroyed in North Ossetia during the 1992 conflict, only 13.5 million out of the 930 billion rubles to which we were entitled." Galazov told the Monitor. Aushev, too, is convinced that "Moscow is to blame for what is happening to the Ingush people. We don’t blame the North Ossetian leadership, much less the Ossetian people!"

Lukashenko Losing Ground But Not Resolve in Confrontation with Parliament and Court.