Last weekend the streets of Beslan were full of military and the police.
The authorities are making precautions not to allow bloody vendetta in the North Caucasus region. The situation is serious indeed.
The relatives of the dead request the names of all the terrorists. The special services say that they know the names of the terrorists, but are not in a hurry to make the names public. The cause is obvious – the memories of the clashes between Ossetians and Ingush in the beginning of the 1990s are still alive.
The people of Ossetia are angry that their official leader, President Alexander Dzasokhov was not very noticeable during the hostage crisis. From the very beginning, the terrorists requested Dzasokhov for negotiations, but the head of the republic restrained from coming to Beslan and preferred to communicate with the outer world through his press department.
Later, on September 4, Mr. Dzasokhov issued an address to the citizens of Ossetia republic. “I want to apologize to all whose home has been struck by grief. I am telling about this as failed to safeguard our children, our teachers and our parents”, said the official and added. “Our grief is immense, but we cannot be divided in this hour. The opponents of mutual consent and those willing to see our country and the peoples of Caucasus divided, should not be given the gift of our conflicts”.
However, the citizens of North Ossetia seemed stopped to believe the words of their president. Many thousands of people participated in the demonstrations in Ossetian capital Vladikavkaz, demanding the republic’s leaders resignation. The organizers of the demonstrations say this is just a beginning. Their demonstrations are peaceful now, but what if…
They say, however, that the entire Ossetian people does not want Dzasokhov to resign, some “forces” are pushing forward the idea of resignation. According to North Ossetia Interior Ministry, an elderly man and a middle-aged woman have been seen at the meetings of people and officials in Beslan. These two pronounce accusations to the authorities, such as, “You killed our children!”, and then disappear in the crowd. Many people saw them, but none caught them. Probably, they are just phantoms of people’s imagination.
Kommersant reporter who was at the demonstration in Vladikavkaz, heard as a young Ossetian called for driving all the Ingush out of the republic. “Those who will refuse to leave, should be destroyed. Then we should deal with Jews. Then with Armenians. Then with Chechens. And separate ourselves from Russia. There is no other way”.
However, even considering that somebody is influencing the North Ossetian people on purpose, the threat of chaos and massacre is very serious. Last Sunday thousands of Ossetian people tried to attack the Ingush in the households of Prigorodny neighborhood of Vladikavkaz. The authorities hardly prevented massacre, the police persuaded the men to go home.
P.S. The clashes between Ossetians and Ingush became the first hot spot in North Caucasus region. The conflict was caused by the dispute over the territory of Prigorodny district of Vladikavkaz which had always been considered as Ingush’s. In 1944 the charges of collaboration with fascist Germany were brought against Chechen-Ingush republic. Local people were deported, and Prigorodny district was given to North Ossetia. In 1957, the repressed peoples were rehabilitated. However, the authorities did not return Prigorodny district to Ingush, the Ingush were given a part of Stavropol region instead. After the break-up of the USSR, Chechnya and Ingushetia separated themselves, and Chechnya took over the former part of Stavropol region.
Until December 1992, no presence of Russian authorities was seen in the Caucasus republics. Ingush leaders were quick to take advantage of this, provided that the first elections of local authorities were scheduled in the republic for October 1992. Simultaneously, in North Ossetia paramilitary units started being formed – so called “republican guard” and “people’s militia”. On October 31, 1992 Ingush military units started advancing to Prigorodny district. As a response, North Ossetian people’s militia backed by the units from South Ossetia, conducted bigger massacre of the Ingush. The clashes lasted for several days until Russian military interfered.
Today both the Ossetians and Ingush try to prove that the disputable territory is theirs, organize demonstrations and so on.
Today, the key issues of the conflict are: the Ingush people return to their previous places of residence in North Ossetia and the status of Prigorodny district. For North Ossetian authorities, the pressing issues are the status of migrants, their return in Prigorodny district and Vladikavkaz, and arranging negotiations on the status of Prigorodny district. The federal authorities pursue the policy of finding compromise between Ossetia and Ingushetia, which is difficult to do because of different interpretations of the law “On Repressed Peoples”, and the legislations of both the republics which limit possible compromises. After electing Murat Zyazikov the President of Ingushetia, the trend for compromise between the two republics has been clearly seen.