East Prigorodny Conflict

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East Prigorodny Conflict
Prigorodnij rajon RSO-A.png
Map of the Prigorodny district inside North Ossetia
Date October 30, 1992 – November 6, 1992
Location Prigorodny district, Republic of North Ossetia–Alania, borderland with Ingushetia
Result Ethnic cleansing of ethnic Ingush from the Prigorodny district by Ossetian militia
Belligerents
North Ossetia–Alania North Ossetian militia
and security forces

North Ossetia–Alania North Ossetian Republican Guard
South Ossetia South Ossetian militia
Flag of Don Cossacks.svg Don Cossacks
Russia Terek Cossacks[1]
Russia Russian Army
Ingush militia
Casualties and losses
192 dead[1]
379 wounded[1]
350 dead[2]
457 wounded[3]
65,000 Ingush refugees
9,000 Ossetian refugees[2]

The East Prigorodny Conflict was an inter-ethnic conflict in the eastern part of the Prigorodny district in the Republic of North Ossetia–Alania, which started in 1989 and developed, in 1992, into a brief ethnic war between local Ingush and Ossetian paramilitary forces.

According to Helsinki Human Rights Watch, Ossetian militia orchestrated a campaign of ethnic cleansing during October and November 1992, resulting in the death of more than 600 Ingush civilians and expulsion of approximately 60,000 Ingush inhabitants from Prigorodny district.[2]

Origins of the conflict[edit]

During the Russian conquest of the Caucasus, part of the Ingush territory was colonized by Ossetians and Russians. Russian General Evdokimov and Ossetian colonel Kundukhov in Opis No. 436 "gladly reported", that the result of colonization of Ingush land was successful:

The Ingush village Ghazhien-Yurt was renamed Stanitsa Assinovskaya in 1847,
The Ingush village Ebarg-Yurt was renamed Stanitsa Troitskaya in 1847,
The Ingush town Dibir-Ghala was renamed Stanitsa Sleptsovskaya in 1847,
The Ingush village Magomet-Khite was renamed Stanitsa Voznesenskaya in 1847,
The Ingush village Akhi-Yurt was renamed Stanitsa Sunzhenskaya in 1859,
The Ingush village Ongusht was renamed Stanitsa Tarskaya in 1859,
The Ingush town Ildir-Ghala was renamed Stanitsa Karabulakskaya in 1859,
The Ingush village Alkhaste was renamed Stanitsa Feldmarshalskaya in 1860,
The Ingush village Tauzen-Yurt was renamed Stanitsa Vorontsov-Dashkov in 1861,
The Ingush village Sholkhi was renamed Khutor Tarski in 1867.

The Russians also built the fortress Vladikavkaz (meaning: "Ruler of the Caucasus") on the former location of the Ingush village of Zaur.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12]

In 1924 the Ingush Autonomous Oblast was created. It included the part of Prigorodny district and part of Vladikavkaz, populated mainly by ethnic Ingush. In 1934, by a Soviet decree, the Ingush Autonomous Republic was merged with Chechen Autonomous Oblast, allocating the Vladikavkaz territories of the Ingush to the newly created North Ossetia, leaving the Prigorodny district under the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Republic.[13]

In 1944, near the end of World War II, the Ingush and the Chechen peoples were accused of collaborating with the Nazis, and by order of Joseph Stalin, the whole population of Ingush and Chechens were deported to Central Asia and Siberia. Soon after, the depopulated Prigorodny district was transferred to North Ossetia.[13]

Map showing the former territories of Checheno-Ingushetia that were given to Ossetia and Dagestan.

In 1957, the repressed Ingush and Chechens were allowed to return to their native land and the Chechen-Ingush Republic was restored, with the Prigorodny district kept under the control of North Ossetia. Soviet authorities attempted to prevent Ingush from returning to their territory in Prigorodny district; however, Ingush families managed to move in, purchase houses back from the Ossetians and resettled the district in greater numbers.[13] This gave rise to the idea of "restoring historical justice" and "returning native lands", among the Ingush population and intelligentsia, which contributed to the already existing tensions between ethnic Ossetians and Ingush. Between 1973 and 1980 the Ingush voiced their demands for the reunification of the Prigorodny district with Ingushetia by staging various protests and meetings in Grozny.

The tensions increased in early 1991, during the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the Ingush openly declared their rights to the Prigorodny district according to the Soviet law adopted by the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on April 26, 1991; in particular, the third and the sixth article on "territorial rehabilitation." The law gave the Ingush legal grounds for their demands, which caused serious turbulence in a region in which many people had free access to weapons, resulting in an armed conflict between ethnic Ingush population of the Prigorodny district and Ossetian armed militias from Vladikavkaz.[14]

Armed conflict[edit]

Ethnic violence rose steadily in the area of the Prigorodny district, to the east of the Terek River, despite the introduction of 1,500 Soviet Internal Troops to the area.

During the summer and early autumn of 1992, there was a steady increase in the militancy of Ingush nationalists. At the same time, there was a steady increase in incidents of organized harassment, kidnapping and rape against Ingush inhabitants of North Ossetia by their Ossetian neighbours, police, security forces and militia.[2] Ingush fighters marched to take control over Prigorodny district and on the night of October 30, 1992, open warfare broke out, which lasted until November 6. While Ingush militias were fighting the Ossetians in the district and on the outskirts of the North Ossetian capital Vladikavkaz, Ingush from elsewhere in North Ossetia were forcibly evicted and expelled from their homes. Russian interior forces actively participated in the fighting and sometimes led Ossetian fighters into battle.[2]

On October 31, 1992, a high-level Russian delegation arrived to stop the violence; however, the first deployment of Russian peacekeepers did not begin until early November. Although Russian troops often intervened to prevent some acts of violence by Ossetian police and republican guards, the stance of the Russian peacekeeping forces was strongly pro-Ossetian,[13] not only objectively as a result of its deployment, but subjectively as well. President Boris Yeltsin issued a decree that the Prigorodny district was to remain part of North Ossetia on November 2.

The hostilities and reprisals in North Ossetia produced approximately 590 deaths, 1,000 injured and 1,200 hostages among Ingush civilians as well as 65,000 Ingush and 9,000 Ossetian refugees.[2] 52 Ossetians were killed during the conflict.

Allegations of ethnic cleansing[edit]

According to Helsinki Human Rights Watch, war crimes and ethnic cleansing were committed by Ossetian police and republican guards against Ingush civilians. Human Rights Watch collected numerous video and photo materials showing extreme brutality carried out by Ossetian police and republican guards against Ingush inhabitants of the district. Helsinki Watch published its report on human rights violations and war crimes, with detailed description of massacres of the Ingush civilians during the events of October and November, in April 1996.[15]

The pressure from Moscow and the Russian-mediated Ossetian-Ingush agreement of 1995 induced the North Ossetian authorities to allow Ingush refugees from four settlements in the Prigorodny district to return to their homes. The return of most refugees had been blocked by the local government and only the Ossetians had been able to return since. Meanwhile, the former Ingush homes and settlements in the district have been gradually occupied by the Ossetian refugees from Georgia.

On October 11, 2002, the presidents of Ingushetia and North Ossetia signed an agreement "promoting cooperation and neighborly relations," in which Ingush refugees and human rights advocates invested much hope. However, the Beslan hostage crisis of 2004 hampered the return process and worsened Ossetian-Ingush relations.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Осетино‑ингушский конфликт: хроника событий" (in Russian). Inca Group "War and Peace". November 8, 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Russia: The Ingush-Ossetian Conflict in the Prigorodnyi Region (Paperback) by Human Rights Watch Helsinki Human Rights Watch (April 1996) ISBN 1-56432-165-7
  3. ^ Prague Watchdog Report, published July 28, 2006
  4. ^ P.G.Butkov. Materials of the new history of the Caucasus years 1722-1803 St. Petersburg 1869 (page 165). 
  5. ^ E.Bronevski. New geographical and historical perspectives of the Caucasus. Moscow, 1823 (vol.2 page 159). 
  6. ^ U. Klaprot. Travel in the Caucasus and Georgia 1807-1808. Berlin 1812 (page 651). 
  7. ^ N.Grabovski. Ingush nation (their life and traditions) Tiflis 1876 (page 2). 
  8. ^ K.Raisov. New illustrated guide in the Crimea and the Caucasus. Odessa 1897 (page 295). 
  9. ^ G.G. Moskvitch. Illustrated practical guide in the Caucasus. Odessa 1903 (pages.161-162). 
  10. ^ N.M. Suetin. Geodesy of the Vladikavkaz. Vladikavkaz 1928 (page 12). 
  11. ^ V.P. Khristianovich. Mountainous Ingushetia Rostov-on-Don 1928 (page 65). 
  12. ^ E.I.Krupnov. Middle age Ingushetia Moscow, 1971 (page 166). 
  13. ^ a b c d A. Dzadziev. The Ingush-Ossetian conflict: The Roots and the Present Day // Journal of Social and Political Studies. 2003, _ 6 (24)
  14. ^ The Ossetian-Ingush Conflict: Perspectives of Getting out of Deadlock Moscow. Russian Independent Institute of Social and National Problems, Professional Sociological Assiciation. ROSSPEN. 1998. p.30
  15. ^ Quoted in Zdravomyslov. The Ossetian-Ingush Conflict: Perspectives of Getting out of Deadlock Moscow. Russian Independent Institute of Social and National Problems, Professional Sociological Association. ROSSPEN. 1998. p.102

External links[edit]