Several thousand protesters in Russia's volatile region of Ingushetia continued on Tuesday to protest the border land deal with Chechnya, as the disputed Chechen-Ingush administrative boundary agreement came into force as of Tuesday, speaker of the Chechen parliament Magomed Daudov stated.
The area around Dattykh has become a symbol of pride and national identity for the small, impoverished North Caucasus region of Ingushetia, after its leader signed an agreement with Chechnya's Ramzan Kadyrov to redraw the borders. The agreement, overseen by President Vladimir Putin's emissary to the Caucasus on September 26, draws the boundary close to Dattykh, giving Chechnya a chunk of territory that many Ingush consider theirs.
Furious at Ingush leader Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, thousands have rallied in Magas, the capital of the majority-Muslim Northern Caucasus region of Ingushetia, since Oct. 4, with the elderly and the young keeping overnight vigil near the parliament building demanding that authorities render the deal void. The protesters have demanded the resignation of a veteran leader, Yevkurov, accusing him of surrendering swathes of territory to neighboring Chechnya. Regional authorities claim that the local legislative assembly have endorsed the land swap but activists say the results of the vote were falsified.
The people of Ingushetia and Chechnya are ethnically close. During World War II, Stalin accused the Chechens and Ingush of collaborating with the Nazis and deported them to Central Asia. The exiles were later allowed to return.