Saturday, June 18, 2005

Abolishing the President

Some excerpts from the IA Regnum interview with Ruslan Aushev, former President of Ingushetia [tr. M.L., my minor editing]:

"First they will abolish the president, then - the nation"

IA REGNUM, 06.06.2005 17:03

IA Regnum: The Ingush, together with the Dagestanis, are the only North-Caucasian peoples that didn’t take part in the Abkhazian war against Georgia. Why was that?

I will speak only for the Ingush, I will not speak for Dagestan. In general, taking part in wars in the Caucasus is a mistaken thing to do. Even more so when your nighbour has some internal problem. To interfere in someone else’s home -that's not right. There are people there, who will work things out for themselves. The Ingush, who have lived next to Georgia for centuries, have never once during their entire history permitted themselves to transgress the framework of mountain etiquette. And we, the Ingush, are grateful to the Georgians. When we were deported in 1944, the territory of Checheno-Ingushetia was distributed between the adjacent republics, including Georgia. When in the fifties we began to return from deportation, the Georgians who populated the Ingush villages said that they could not live in our houses, and they left, even leaving their crockery for the returning Ingush families. If in 1957 the Ossetians had acted in similar fashion, the situation between Ossetia and Ingushetia would not be as tense as it is now.

IA Regnum: Why did the Chechens, who are very close to the Ingush, take an active part in the war in Abkhazia?

I talked with Dudayev about this a lot. I asked him: how do you justify the fact that your units, the representatives of the Chechen republic, fought in Abkhazia? I know that later he regretted this. Maskhadov, as is known, came officially to Georgia and also said that it was a mistake.

IA Regnum: In Georgia it’s considered that the mass participation of North Caucasians in the Abkhazian war was organized by Russia. Do you, the former president of a Russian Federal subject, agree with this opinion?

No wars happen spontaneously. For example, people talk about the "Ingush-Ossetian conflict". There was no Ingush- Ossetian conflict whatsoever. Ingushetia did not fight against Ossetia. All those events occurred in the Prigorodnoye district, in North Ossetia. It was North Ossetia's problem. But what was the plan of those politicians who were in power in Moscow in 1992? To put pressure on the Ingush, taking into account the fact that this would create a problem for the Chechen republic, and Dzhokhar Dudayev would have to come to the aid of the Ingush. And then the chance to accuse him of aggression and to apply force against him would come up. It all flowed from this. When wars break out, nothing is simple. You see, an everyday conflict of the Ingush with Ossetians was converted into an entire war. I was there in 1992, when the troops arrived - why, if it were just n order to separate the Ingush from the Ossetians, were all those Grad rocket systems, self-propelled artillery and all the rest needed? And when that convoy was directed at Chechnya, it was scarcely possible to stop it at the border of Ingushetia and the Chechen Republic. This was Moscow’s first attempt at solving the Chechen problem by force. In other words, what happened was that the federal centre attempted to solve its problem with the Chechen republic, and the Ossetian leadership attempted to solve its problem, having demonstrated that if the Ingush tried to solve the problem of interrelations, then blood would be spilled.

[passsage omitted]

IA Regnum: Why has the post of president been abolished in North Ossetia, thereby reducing the degree of its statehood even further?

I don't know on what basis Dzasokhov took this decision. Probably, he wanted to help the federal centre, which has been pursuing this policy of strengthening the vertical of power, for the unitary state. But, in the [Russian] constitution it is written that a republic is a state. It is not a region -- it is a state. Therefore, it should have a president. Now first they plan to abolish the president, then they will abolish the language, then the traditions, then everything [else] that links us with the name Ossetian, Ingush, Kabardian, Balkar... Today they are abolishing presidents, tomorrow they will abolish everything else - the flag, the coat of arms, the anthem. It's not for nothing that a president and a flag is needed. We want the English, the French, the Italians, the Irish, the Chinese, to be joined in the world by the Ingush, the Kabardians, the Ossetians, the Georgians... So that these names are heard and have resonance. I want to live according to my customs and traditions - why must someone abolish them?

[passage omitted]

(via chechnya-sl)

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