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Russia: Information on fighting between Ossetians and Ingush around Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia, in 1992 and the present state of ethnic relations in the area

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 May 1994
Citation / Document Symbol RUS17237.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Russia: Information on fighting between Ossetians and Ingush around Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia, in 1992 and the present state of ethnic relations in the area, 1 May 1994, RUS17237.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6ad9118.html [accessed 20 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

 

During the Second World War the Ingush and Cechens were deported in toto from Cechen-Ingushetia in punishment for what Soviet leader Stalin suspected was their collaboration with invading German forces. In addition, the Prigorodnyi raion (district) in Cechen-Ingushetia, bordering what is now the North Ossetian capital of Vladikavkaz (formerly Ordzhonikidze), was transferred to North Ossetia (Human Rights Watch Dec. 1992, 234; Helsinki Watch Sept. 1991, 21-23, 47, 49; Radio Liberty 26 Apr. 1991, 16).

In 1992 fighting between Ingush and Ossetians in the Prigorodnyi raion broke out in October. On 23 October a clash between Ossetian police and Ingush villagers left six people, including two policemen, dead (Interfax 29 Oct. 1992). On

31 October the conflict escalated, involving Ingush and Ossetian paramilitary formations vying for control of the raion (Human Rights Watch Dec. 1992, 234; Russian Television Network 31 Oct. 1992).

Although a ceasefire was declared on 1 November 1992, fighting continued (Human Rights Watch Dec. 1992, 234; Interfax

4 Nov. 1992). On 2 November, President Boris Yeltsin decreed a one-month state of emergency throughout North Ossetia and Ingushetia and established a federal "interim administration" which assumed "direct control" of "North Ossetian SSR executive organs" (Rossiyskaya Gazeta 4 Nov. 1992; Helsinki Watch Dec. 1992, 234). By 6 November about 10,000 Russian army and interior ministry troops had arrived to enforce the state of emergency (Human Rights Watch Dec. 1992, 234; RFE/RL 20 Nov. 1992, 49).

The fighting in the Prigorodnyi raion was marked by subsequent reports of human rights violations, including disappearances, torture and excessive use of force by Russian and North Ossetian irregular forces (Country Reports 1992 1993,

885-86, 888). Estimates of the casualties vary widely. According to one report, "reliable sources in the area confirmed that violations of humanitarian conventions occurred, but noted that while the Russian Government's official initial report of 261 fatalities was probably too low, Ingush claims were probably exaggerated" (ibid., 888). Ingush sources alleged that Russian troops aided Ossetian forces in attacks on and forced displacement of Ingush in the raion (ibid.; Human Rights Watch Dec. 1992, 234).

For additional information on the background to the current conflict, please refer to the attached excerpts from Helsinki Watch and Human Rights Watch and to Country Reports 1992 (p. 888), which is available in your Regional Documentation Centre.

The state of emergency declared in early November 1992 has been continually renewed by Russian presidential decrees, most recently for the period 31 March-31 May 1994 (Interfax 31 Jan. 1994; RFE/RL 31 Jan.-4 Feb. 1994, 3; ibid. 26 July-6 Aug. 1993, 3; ITAR-TASS 4 Apr. 1994; ibid. 28 Mar. 1993). As part of the first extension in late March 1993, the area covered by the state of emergency was reduced to "the territories of part of Prigorodnyy rayon and adjacent localities of [North Ossetia] and of part of Nazranskiy [sic] rayon" of Ingushetia (ibid.; ibid., 10 Apr. 1993). Within North Ossetia, the zone currently covered by the state of emergency consists of sections of Mosdokskiy, Provoberezhniy and Prigorodnyi raions, as well as parts of Vladikavkaz. In Ingushetia it encompasses the raions of Nazranovskiy and Malgobekskiy (ibid., 4 Apr. 1994).

The issue of persons displaced by the 1992 fighting has been central in negotiations between the governments of North Ossetia and Ingushetia (RFE/RL 5-8 Apr. 1994, 1; ITAR-TASS 28 Feb. 1994). By the end of 1992, about 40,000 Ingush had reportedly been displaced from the Prigorodnyi raion and the Ingush capital of Nazran was said to be "overflowing with refugees" (Human Rights Watch Dec. 1992, 234). Reports in 1993 indicated that by December of that year, the total number of displaced persons from the region was 65,000 (ibid. Dec. 1993, 233; RFE/RL 30 Aug.-3 Sept. 1993, 2).

On 13 December 1993, President Yeltsin signed a decree ordering that the return of Ingush displaced persons to four villages in Prigorodnyi begin by the end of the year (RFE/RL

11-24 Dec. 1993b, 2; ibid., 6-10 Dec. 1993, 2). North Ossetians staged protests against the move in the raion before and immediately after the decree was announced (ibid.; ibid. 11-

24 Dec. 1993a, 3).

In early April 1994 the presidents of Ingushetia and North Ossetia began a round of talks on implementing the decree, but on 12 April a group of 66 displaced Ingush were prevented from returning to Prigorodnyi (RFE/RL 5-8 Apr. 1994, 1; ibid. 11-

15 Apr. 1994b, 4). "Little progress" was made on resolving differences over the issue of displaced persons when the presidents met on 14 April (ibid., 11-15 Apr. 1994a, 5).

There have been other indicators of continuing ethnic tensions in Priogorodnyi raion. At the end of 1993 a number of Ingush villages in North Ossetia "remained basically in a state of blockade, relying heavily on accompaniment by Russian Interior Ministry troops or international relief organizations to travel to Ingushetia for supplies" (Human Rights Watch Dec. 1993, 233). Also in 1993, the North Ossetian government reportedly decreed that "Ossetians and Ingush could not live peacefully together" (ibid.).

This response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.

References

Country Reports in Human Rights Practices for 1992. 1993. United States Department of State. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office.

Helsinki Watch. September 1991. "Punished Peoples" of the Soviet Union: The Continuing Legacy of Stalin's Deportations. New York: Human Rights Watch.

Human Rights Watch. December 1993. Human Rights Watch World Report 1994. New York: Human Rights Watch.

. December 1992. Human Rights Watch World Report 1993. New York: Human Rights Watch.

Interfax [Moscow, in English]. 31 January 1994. "Ingush, North Ossetian Presidents on Edict." (FBIS-SOV-94-021 1 Feb. 1994, p. 36)

. 4 November 1992. "Fighting Situation Updated." (FBIS-SOV-92-214 4 Nov. 1992, p. 21)

. 29 October 1992. "North Ossetia Decides Not to Use Force Against Ingushes." (FBIS-SOV-92-211 30 Oct. 1992, p. 51)

ITAR-TASS [Moscow, in Russian]. 4 April 1994. "Yeltsin Edict on Emergency." (FBIS-SOV-94-065 5 Apr. 1994, pp. 24-26)

. 28 February 1994. 28 February 1994. "Federation Council Commission on Ossetian Situation." (FBIS-SOV-94-039 28 Feb. 1994, p. 63)

. 10 April 1993. "Latest Situation in North Ossetia Reported." (FBIS-SOV-93-069 13 Apr. 1993, p. 50)

. 28 March 1993. "State of Emergency Imposed in North Ossetia, Ingushetia." (FBIS-SOV-93-058 29 Mar. 1993, p. 87)

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). 11-15 Apr. 1994a. RFE/RL News Briefs. Vol. 3, No. 16. Ann Sheehy. "Little Progress at North Ossetian-Ingush Talks."

. 11-15 April 1994b. RFE/RL News Briefs [Munich]. Vol. 3, No. 16. Ann Sheehy. "North Ossetians Take Ingush Hostages."

. 5-8 April 1994. RFE/RL News Briefs [Munich]. Vol. 3, No. 15. Ann Sheehy. "North Ossetian-Ingush Talks."

. 31 January-4 February 1994. RFE/RL News Briefs [Munich]. Vol. 3, No. 6. Ann Sheehy. "State of Emergency Prolonged in North Ossetia/Ingushetia."

. 11-24 December 1993a. RFE/RL News Briefs [Munich]. Vol. 3, No. 2. Ann Sheehy. "North Ossetian Reaction to Yeltsin's Decree on Ingush Refugees."

. 11-24 December 1993b. RFE/RL News Briefs [Munich]. Vol. 3, No. 2. Ann Sheehy. "Yeltsin Issues Decree on Ingush Refugees."

. 6-10 December 1993. RFE/RL News Briefs [Munich]. Vol. 2, No. 50. Ann Sheehy. "Yeltsin to Issue Decree on North Ossetia/Ingushetia."

. 30 August-3 September 1993. RFE/RL News Briefs [Munich]. Vol. 2, No. 36. Ann Sheehy. "Ingushetia to Hold Referendum on Leaving Russia?"

. 26 July-3 August 1993. RFE/RL News Briefs [Munich]. Vol. 2, No. 32. Ann Sheehy. "Yeltsin Extends State of Emergency in North Ossetia, Ingushetia."

. 20 November 1992. RFE/RL Research Report. Vol. 1, No. 46. "Military and Security Notes."

Radio Liberty. 26 April 1991. Report on the USSR [Munich]. Vol. 3, No. 17. Vera Tolz. "New Information about the Deportation of Ethnic Groups under Stalin."

Rossiyskaya Gazeta [Moscow, in Russian]. 4 November 1992. "Edict on State of Emergency." (FBIS-SOV-92-214 4 Nov. 1992, p. 21-22)

Russian Television Network [Moscow, in Russian]. 31 October 1992. "Security Council Meets on 'Civil War'." (FBIS-SOV-92-212 2 Nov. 1992, p. 22)

Attachments

Helsinki Watch. September 1991. "Punished Peoples" of the Soviet Union: The Continuing Legacy of Stalin's Deportations. New York: Human Rights Watch, pp. 7, 21-22, 47-50.

Human Rights Watch. December 1992. Human Rights Watch World Report 1993. 1993. New York: Human Rights Watch.

                Interfax [Moscow, in English]. 15 November 1992. "Gunfire, Attacks Reported in N. Ossetia." (FBIS-SOV-92-221 16 Nov. 1992, p. 45)

. 15 November 1992. "Ossetians Accused of Moving Refugees." (FBIS-SOV-92-221 16 Nov. 1992, pp. 44-45)

. 14 November 1992. "Ingush Casualties Mount." (FBIS-SOV-92-221 16 Nov. 1992, p. 44)

. 9 November 1992. "Ingush Armed Formations Said Retreating." (FBIS-SOV-92-218 10 Nov. 1992, p. 27)

. 5 November 1992. "Two Ingush Settlements Occupied." (FBIS-SOV-92-215 5 Nov. 1992, p. 39)

. 4 November 1992. "INTERFAX Updates Situation." (FBIS-SOV-92-215 5 Nov. 1992, pp. 37-38)

. 4 November 1992. "Fighting Situation Updated." (FBIS-SOV-92-214 4 Nov. 1992, p. 21)

. 2 November 1992. "Powers of Interim Administration Noted." (FBIS-SOV-92-213 3 Nov. 1992, p. 25)

. 31 October 1992. "N. Ossetians Urged to Oppose 'Extremists'." (FBIS-SOV-92-212 2 Nov. 1992, p. 22)

. 29 October 1992. "North Ossetia Decides Not to Use Force Against Ingushes." (FBIS-SOV-92-211 30 Oct. 1992, p. 51)

ITAR-TASS [Moscow, in English]. 4 April 1994. "Yeltsin Edict on Emergency." (FBIS-SOV-94-065 5 Apr. 1994, pp. 24-26)

. "Peacekeeping Forces Keep North Ossetia Calm." (FBIS-SOV-94-038 25 Feb. 1994, p. 27)

. 8 December 1992. "Statistics Reveal Cost of Ingushetia-Ossetia Conflict." (FBIS-SOV-92-237 9 Dec. 1992, p. 23)

. 2 December 1992. "Troops Under Fire in North Ossetia." (FBIS-SOV-92-233 3 Dec. 1992, p. 18)

. 10 November 1992. "Ingushes Will Not Rule Out Guerilla Tactics." (FBIS-SOV-92-219 12 Nov. 1992, p. 46)

. 5 November 1992. "Cease-Fire Observed; 'Hostages' Exchanged." (FBIS-SOV-92-215 5 Nov. 1992, pp. 38-39)

. 3 November 1992. "Situation Stabilized; Newsman Released." (FBIS-SOV-92-213 3 Nov. 1992, p. 31)

                . 2 November 1992. "Ingush Said Driven Out of Oktyabrskoe." (FBIS-SOV-92-213 3 Nov. 1992, p. 28)

. 2 November 1992. "Yeltsin Introduces State of Emergency." (FBIS-SOV-92-212 2 Nov. 1992, p. 27)

. 2 November 1992. "Fighting on Night of 1 Nov Noted." (FBIS-SOV-92-212 2 Nov. 1992, p. 26)

. 1 November 1992. "Cease-Fire Accord Reached." (FBIS-SOV-92-212 2 Nov. 1992, p. 25)

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). 11-15 Apr. 1994. RFE/RL News Briefs [Munich]. Vol. 3, No. 16. Ann Sheehy. "Little Progress at North Ossetian-Ingush Talks, p. 5."

. 11-15 April 1994. RFE/RL News Briefs [Munich]. Vol. 3, No. 16. Ann Sheehy. "North Ossetians Take Ingush Hostages," p. 4.

. 5-8 April 1994. RFE/RL News Briefs [Munich]. Vol. 3, No. 15. Ann Sheehy. "North Ossetian-Ingush Talks," p. 1.

. 13-17 September 1993. RFE/RL News Briefs [Munich]. Vol. 2, No. 38. Ann Sheehy. "Security Council Discusses North Ossetia, Ingushetia," pp. 5-6.

. 26 July-6 August 1993. RFE/RL News Briefs [Munich]. Vol. 2, No. 32. Ann Sheehy. "Head of Interim Administration in North Ossetia and Ingushetia Assassinated," pp. 4-5.

. 14 May 1993. RFE/RL Research Report [Munich]. Vol. 2, No. 20. Ann Sheehy. "Russia's Republics: A Threat to Its Territorial Integrity?" pp. 34-35, 38.

. 10-23 December 1992. RFE/RL News Briefs [Munich]. Vol. 2, No. 2. Vera Tolz. "Censorship of Russian Media on Ingush-Ossetian Conflict," p. 3.

. 27 November 1992. RFE/RL Research Report [Munich]. Vol. 1, No. 47. "Weekly Review," p. 69

Radio Liberty. 26 April 1991. Report on the USSR [Munich]. Vol. 3, No. 17. Vera Tolz. "New Information about the Deportation of Ethnic Groups under Stalin," pp. 16, 19.

Radio Rossii Network [Moscow, in Russian]. 1 November 1992. "Paratroops Arrive; Platoon Disarmed." (FBIS-SOV-92-212 2 Nov. 1992, p. 24)

. 31 October 1992. "3,000 OMON Personnel Arrive." (FBIS-SOV-92-212 2 Nov. 1992, p. 22)

                Segodnya [Moscow, in Russian]. 26 February 1994. "Ossetian President Rejects Federal Rule Idea." (FBIS-SOV-94-039 28 Feb. 1994, p. 68)

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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