Russia’s southern republics are Europe’s new* fracture zone, and some are already calling Ingushetia a "second Chechnya" because violence from Chechnya, which is now forcibly pacified under the heel of Kremlin-backed former warlord Ramzan Kadyrov, has shifted there. Ingushetia’s ethnically-mixed peoples –Ingush, Russians, Chechens, and smaller minority groups– have historically coexisted peacefully, but a wave of unsolved murders of ethnic Russian and other non-Ingush families in the republic is casting a shadow over the republic’s future –and drawing increased attention from Moscow. 

The guardian has more.

While Chechnya – first a cauldron of separatist sentiment in the Nineties and then a new outpost in the global jihad – boasts safe streets and new apartment blocks, in recent weeks Ingushetia has suffered a wave of brutal executions of people of non-Ingush nationalities.

A poor and rural republic about the size of Suffolk, Ingushetia is now the epicentre of terrorism in Russia. And some analysts are warning of a ‘second Chechnya’ in the making.

The killing began last July when an ethnic Russian schoolteacher and her two children were shot dead in their beds by an intruder. At their funeral a few days later a bomb exploded, injuring several people. Unidentified assailants then murdered Vera Draganchuk’s family on 1 September. Soon after, armed men assassinated a Russian doctor outside her apartment block. A gypsy man and his two sons were the next to be shot dead at home.

There are few signs that the killing will stop and no one can be quite sure who is carrying out the murders.

And locals are skeptical that the killers are actually from Ingushetia. As is often the case when conflicts characterised as "ethnic" break out anywhere in the world, you can pretty safely bet outside interference is involved.

‘My parents were born here and so was I,’ says Vera, 52. ‘I’m a native ethnic Russian and I have no enemies.’ Neighbours of the other victims say that they had no conflicts with local Ingush people.

That may be the point. Since the spring, policemen and soldiers have been killed or injured almost daily as their vehicles or offices come under fire from Islamic militants, based in the mountains of Chechnya and Ingushetia.

It would be absolutely horrible if Ingushetia went the way of Chechnya. Chechnya itself is struggling to recover from two brutal wars in the span of roughly a decade, and though it is a republic at peace, its government is anything but democratic and human rights-respecting.

Tears were shed all over the world when Sarajevo was laid siege to, but Grozny was literally leveled with almost no coverage by the international media, and little attention from the international community. Anna Politkovskaya, one of the few brave voices bringing attention to human rights abuses in the Caucasus, was gunned down last year.

If the worst happens, and Ingushetia does explode, let’s hope the media and the international community do not simply look away.

*Not really "new" if you consider that the first Chechen war began in 1994, but newly "discovered" by the media.

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