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The Ossetian-Ingush Confrontation: Explaining a Horizontal Conflict

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image of Iran and the Caucasus

Terrorist attacks in the North Caucasus and the eruption of many other ethnic conflicts in the post-Soviet space cause the fear that the old Ossetian-Ingush confrontation may also re-emerge. Ossetians are the only indigenous Christian ethnic group in the predominantly Sunni Muslim North Caucasus. They have fought a war with the Ingush over the Prigorodnyj district, which was part of the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Republic inhabited mainly by the Ingush before they were deported by Stalin in the early 1940s. After their return, the punished Muslim Ingush have tried in vain to regain their territory, which has ultimately resulted in a bloody war in the early 1990s. Unlike the other wars in the former Soviet republics, this was not a vertical conflict. The present paper tries to analyse the historical background and roots of the antagonism between the two neighbouring North Caucasian peoples.

Affiliations: 1: University of Amsterdam


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