The Caucasus at a Crossroad: Ingushetia

BY ANDREA BRUCE

The Republic of Ingushetia is a splinter of land west of Chechnya that is caught in Russia’s struggle to hold on to the North Caucasus. Andrea Bruce focuses on the Ingush people and the changes they confront in the wake of violence in Chechnya and Georgia as well as the choices they make while faced with harsh Russian forces and a conflicting wave of Muslim extremism gaining support in the area. 

Russia, Ingushetia, October 2009, Guns are fired in the air to celebrate the wedding party for Medina Khamkoyeva.

Russia, Ingushetia, October 2009, Guns are fired in the air to celebrate the wedding party for Medina Khamkoyeva.

 The fighting in Ingushetia has poisoned life in much of the North Caucasus. After a brief calm following two wars, militant attacks have spiked in Chechnya as well as in nearby Dagestan and Kabardino-Balkaria. But the violence has been worst in Ingushetia, the smallest and most impoverished of Russia’s provinces, where the rebels and security forces compete in brutality, and even human rights activists carry guns.

Russia, Ingushetia, October 2009, Surrounded by family, Medina Khamkoyeva prepares for her wedding party in the Republic of Ingushetia.

Russia, Ingushetia, October 2009, Surrounded by family, Medina Khamkoyeva prepares for her wedding party in the Republic of Ingushetia.

Russia, Ingushetia, October 2009, A fight breaks out at a wedding party in the Republic of Ingushetia.

Russia, Ingushetia, October 2009, A fight breaks out at a wedding party in the Republic of Ingushetia.

The ongoing military conflict in neighboring Chechnya has occasionally spilled into Ingushetia. The republic has been destabilized by corruption and a number of high-profile crimes.

Russia, Ingushetia, October 2009, A Chechen refugee is frightened during a Russian police visit to the refugee camp where she lives.

Russia, Ingushetia, October 2009, A Chechen refugee is frightened during a Russian police visit to the refugee camp where she lives.

Russia, Ingushetia, October 2009, The assassination attempt of Ingush President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov left him fighting for his life--but he returned to office months later.

Russia, Ingushetia, October 2009, The assassination attempt of Ingush President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov left him fighting for his life--but he returned to office months later.

Russia, Ingushetia, October 2009, A suicide bombing left a skeleton of the car someone was driving at a major intersection in the Republic of Ingushetia--not far from the President's compound. Authorities suspect that the insurgent was blown up by accident before he reached his actual target. 

Russia, Ingushetia, October 2009, A suicide bombing left a skeleton of the car someone was driving at a major intersection in the Republic of Ingushetia--not far from the President's compound. Authorities suspect that the insurgent was blown up by accident before he reached his actual target. 


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