On March 26th, according to different sources, between 10.000 and 30.000 people took to the streets again on Ingushetia. Even 10.000 people is already a huge number for this small republic in the Russian Caucasus, with around 3.000 km2 and less than 500.000 inhabitants.

Written by the Internationalist Workers Party (MezhRP) – Russia

This is the second demonstration in less than 6 years. The first was on last October, when the pro-Putin leaders of the republics of Chechnya and Ingushetia, Kadyrov [1] and Evkurov, behind the backs of their peoples, signed a deal transferring to Chechnya about 7 to 10% of Ingushetia, a republic that is already tiny. The deal was signed even though it goes against the Constitution of Ingushetia, which determines that that a popular referendum must be organized for such questions.

The Constitutional Court of Ingushetia considered the deal illegal. On the other side, the Constitutional Court of Russia considered it legal, showing that Moscow is willing to trample over Ingushetia in the name of Kadyrov’s interests. However, the Kremlin’s attempt to please Kadyrov at the expense of Ingushetia did not go over as easy as they thought: the Ingush took to the streets to fight against the deal.

The spark for the second demonstration, in March, was precisely the attempt on Evkurov’s part of removing the need for a referendum from the Constitution, so that he could retroactively “legalize” the surrendering of Ingush land, a measure shameful even by the hypocritical standards of bourgeois law. The demonstration demanded the resignation of Evkurov, who is stuck on the collective throat of the Ingush people, as well as economic demands against poverty in the region. The Caucasus, Ingushetia included, is one of the poorest regions of Russia, with its inhabitants often leaving to try their luck elsewhere. The crisis and worsening of living conditions under Putin’s administrations is undoubtedly what feeds the protests.

The events involve questions far beyond the land dispute. The territorial question, like any other contradiction, was always used by Russia to divide the Caucasian peoples, poisoning them against each other, in order to more safely safeguard their domination over all of them. What is happening is not merely a territorial transfer to Chechnya. It is Putin’s reward to Kadyrov for his services in suffocating the resistance of the Chechen people, as well as the struggle of peoples across the Caucasus against oppression. For his role in restoring the dominion of the Kremlin over the region and strengthening Putin’s regime, a defender of the interests of the oligarchs [2] and of the FSB [3], over the entire country.

There is a causal chain, which begins with the suffocation of the Chechen resistance, which led to the suffocation of the struggles of the peoples of the entire Caucasus, which on its part led to the acceptance by a part of the Russian working class of the whole of Putin’s repressive chauvinist policy, which led to them investing all their hope in the “strong leader” and stopping any struggle for their class interests, which has led to the triumphant ascension over the entire country of the oligarchic, pro-FSB regime of Putin, which then led to the silencing of all voices across Russia, a necessary condition for the implementation the current colonial model of the country’s total dependency of natural resource extraction and foreign capitals, which has led to the present social situation of Russian workers: degradation, lack of perspectives, absence of rights and police repression.

This causal chain, organically completed by the counter-revolutions in Syria and the Ukraine, is what determines the nightmare every Russian worker has, though they are not entirely aware yet. It is in this causal sequence that Putin’s envoy and executioner, Kadyrov, plays his fundamental part. It is what where he wins from Kremlin some permanent “bonus”, in this case, a slice of Ingushetia.

The Caucasian peoples suffer from a common disease – the centuries-old Russian oppression. The genocide by the hands of Tsarist general Ermolov, the Stalinist deportations of Chechens, Ingush and other people, the wars in Chechnya led by Yeltsin and Putin that turned the capital city of Grozniy into a pile of ruins, the present terror of Putin’s regime helped by his local representatives, true tormentors against the peoples, the aggressions by Putin against their national languages

The same disease also affects the Russian workers, whom Putin tries to bring over to his side, envenoming them with large doses of Great-Russian chauvinism, so that they accept to live in misery and bad conditions imposed by the oligarchs, repressive organs and the “new Tsar”, who rule thanks to illusions of a “Greater Russia” which has absolutely in common with reality. It is no surprise that after suffocating the Caucasus with his repressive, oligarchic regime, Putin has silenced the Russian workers with his police baton and now persecutes them with a whip so that they work more and for longer (without retirement). In believing the chauvinist Great-Russian propaganda of Putin, supporting his aggressions against other peoples and looking down on immigrant workers, the Russian workers, expressing Marx’s maxim, literally forge their own chains. The suffocation of the Caucasus is the cornerstone of the entire pyramid of enslavement of Russian workers.

An increase in the struggle of the Caucasian peoples, for the liberation of the Caucasus from the oligarchic, repressive regime of Putin, as well as the Ukrainian revolution, threatens to topple this entire pyramid of oppression and exploitation built within the present borders of Russia on the backs of workers of different peoples, including the most numerous amongst them, the Russians. This is something that Putin’s regime cannot abide in any shape. This is why the Caucasus is not only the cornerstone of the regime, but also its Achilles’ Heel.

That is why any unrest in the Caucasus worries the regime. And the worries increase since the demonstrations “remembered” the name of Putin, the “godfather” of everything that is happening: “Come over here immediately to explain why you don’t like the Ingush people. Those that do not respect the elders of the people, I will never respect… If you decide to take a part of our territory, know that for us this will mean the same as death, and death is something we intent to face with dignity”, said elder Akhmed Barakhoev, accompanied other demonstrations shouting “Allah is great!”. For such insubordination, the elder was arrested.

This is why there is a huge amount of the Russian military stationed on the Caucasus. That is why there are dictatorial regimes across the entire Caucasus betting on the complete suffocation of any resistance. That is why Putin, copycatting what he already did with Grozniy, destroys the Syrian cities and along with Assad has murdered hundreds of thousands of Syrians, so that the revolution in this country would not kindle a new wave of liberation struggles on the Caucasus. This is why the present demonstrations in Ingushetia are repressed. The attempts by the Russian Guard of dispersing them by force (which were ridiculously defeated due by the resistance of the demonstrators); the presence of special masked agents in the demonstrations and snipers on the neighbouring buildings; the Putin regime was ready to, if needed, promote a massacre. There were searches with masked agents in more than 15 addresses. Military armoured vehicles were stationed on the streets. The internet was turned off so that information would not leak and people would not be able to organize themselves.

That is why the government arrested the elder Barakhov, Barakh Tchemurziev (of the “Support of Ingushetia” movement), Musa Masalgov (of the human rights organization “MASHR”), Abo Dobriev, Khabazh Dzaurov, Bagaudin Khautiev, Guelaniy Khamkhoev, Magomed Khamkhoev, Ibrahim Muzhakhoev, Adam Azhigov, Vakha Barakhoev, Amir Oskanov, Musa Tepsaev, Akhmed Pogorov. Many were beaten while detained..  Zarifa Sautieva, Ismail Nalguiev, bloggers Bekkhan Khashagulgov and Israpil Nalguiev, vice-representative of the Spiritual Center of Ingushetia Musa Meyrieva, and representative of the Council of Clans of Ingushetia Malsagu Uzhakhova were also fined up to US$2500,00 for “taking part in illegal actions”, “calling for disorder” and “violence directed towards the representatives of the government

This is why Putin openly protects Evkurov, refusing to fire him, since that would mean a “sign of weakness”. Opening a precedent of being forced to retreat due to the pressure of the people, which could inspire people to resist, is unnacceptable for the authoritarian regime of Putin even in Russian regions, and even more in the Caucasus.

All of this demonstrates how much the suffocation of the Caucasus is a vital matter for Putin’s pro-oligarchy, FSB repression based regime It shows how much the regime fears losing control of the region.

The government fears that the protests may divide the repressive forces, fully understand that the conditions for this are already present: those sent to stifle the October demonstrations prayed along with the protesters. On the March demos, a police division refused to scatter the demonstrators. The division was restructured, with dozens of members expelled for “loss of trust” (by the way, for this reason Ingushetia’s Minister of Interior, Dmitriy Kava, who hesitated on using police force against the demonstration, lost his office. The “honour” of leading the repression was then put in the hands of the disciplined Russian Guard). For fear of incidents of this type, the government places effort in using “foreign” forces for the repression in Ingushetia. For example, the detained were led to the neighbouring republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, far from their people and their protesting places. The house searchs were also done directly by forces under the command of the FSB.

Any worker, as well every honest person, must stand against the injustices Putin and his soldier Kadyrov bring on the Ingush people with the pathetic assitance of Evkurov, boot-licker of Kadyrov, who is himself Putin’s boot-licker. The Ingush people must decide for itself its territoral questions. The territorial question of the Caucasus must be decided among the peoples of the Caucasus, and not by agents of Putin a la Kadyrov.

Evkurov was forced to remove the project abolishing the need for a referendum “for adjustments”. He already did so before the demonstrations, when it was already clear that the people would resist. Evkurov’s retreat is already a small victory of the Ingush people against Evkurov himself, Kadyrov and Putin, but it is only a small step in the long path ahead until the liberation of Ingushetia and all peoples of the Caucasus from the oppression of Putin’s regime.

For the liberation of the Caucasian peoples from Putin’s agents, the solidarity among the Caucasian peoples against Russian oppression will be vital and decisive, for example, to stop the repressive forces from transferring the detained to other regions, to remove support for these repressive forces in every region. But the solidarity of Russian workers towards the opressed peoples of the Caucasus will be no less important. Today in Russia the working class is held by the chains of Putin’s oligarchical, police regime, and feels the consequences of this every single day. The hold is stronger in the Caucasus and in the Ukraine, literally strong enough to bleed. In the case of Russians it does not cause bleeding yet, something the regime tries to pretend is a privilege.

But the chains are the same around everybody, and it is tightening. That is why even Russian workers are being forced to work more and more, receiving less and less, and stand all of this without complaining. The liberation from this hold is a common task. The liberation of the Caucasus, the liberation of the Ukraine, also mean the liberation of Russian workers. That is also imperative for their own struggle against Putin’s oligarchic police regime.

[1] President of Chechnya, ally of Putin in massacring and oppressing the Chechen people. Heads a totalitarian government in the region, with directly fascistic features. Any political opposition is eliminated. Thanks to the terror regime, Putin “won” the elections in the region with more than 97% of the vote. Kadyrov calls himself “Putin’s infantry soldier”.

[2] This is what the great Russian capitalists are called after having taken property of the former Soviet State monopolies.

[3] Federal Security Service, a political police, successor to the KGB.

Translated by Miki Sayoko