Thousands protest against a new border agreement in Ingushetia

Meduza

Yunus-bek Yevkurov, the head of Ingushetia, is facing a major crisis, following a recent territorial-exchange agreement with Chechnya that was meant to resolve a decades-long border dispute in the Sunzhensky District. On October 4, Ingushetia's Popular Assembly adopted the first reading of legislation endorsing the deal brokered by Yevkurov, but nearly a dozen deputies later complained that the vote had been rigged. According to Ruslan Mutsolgov, the head of Yabloko's local branch, only five deputies supported the bill, while 15 voted against it, and four deputies intentionally ripped up their ballots.

Following the contested vote by the Popular Assembly, thousands of protesters gathered outside the parliament building in the capital city of Magas, demonstrating against the ratification of the border deal. At one point, Yevkurov tried to address the crowd, but someone threw a bottle at him, prompting his security detail to start firing into the air over the protesters.

Despite the intimidation tactics, a large crowd remained in the city's square overnight, demanding that Yevkurov withdraw his signature from the agreement with Chechnya.

Appealing to the public in a video posted on Instagram, Ingushetia's leader asked people to go home and stop demonstrating. “The fact that I've created comfortable conditions for you over the past 10 years as head of the republic and done everything to make you feel like a democratic society doesn't mean you can violate the laws so brazenly and embarrass our republic,” Yevkurov said.