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Ingushetia

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Travel Warning WARNING: Ingushtetia is presently a war zone and is most emphatically NOT safe. Visitors are in fear of murders and kidnappings by government forces, high-profile crimes, periodic civil disorders and bombings. Travellers should consult to their embassy and request expert information before travelling to the region. See also War zone safety.


Ingushetia is a republic in Russia's North Caucasus bordering North Ossetia to the west, Chechnya to the east, and Georgia to the south. The region has a reputation for being the smallest region in Russia.

Cities

  • Magas — the tiny (about 300 residents) capital of Ingushetia
  • Dariali — a high aul in Ingushetia's beautiful Dzheyrakh Region
  • Guloykhi — a multi-towered Ingush aul in southern Ingushetia in the Assy Gorge
  • Karabulak — city in the plains.
  • Malgobek — an oilfield town now housing some 20,000 Chechen refugees
  • Nazran — the largest city and former capital, partly across the border with North Ossetia
  • Ordzhonikidzevskaya
  • Targim — castle in the mountains, require Russian Federal Security Bureau permit especially for foreigners.
  • Erzi — castle in the mountains, require Russian Federal Security Bureau permit especially for foreigners.
  • Vovnushki — castle in the mountains, require Russian Federal Security Bureau permit especially for foreigners.
  • Dzheirakh — watch towers and Arm he resort complex, require Russian Federal Security Bureau permit especially for foreigners.
  • Tsori — castle in the mountains, require Russian Federal Security Bureau permit especially for foreigners.
  • Tkhabaerdy — ancient Ingush Christian church, require Russian Federal Security Bureau permit especially for foreigners.
  • Olgeti — mountain village, require Russian Federal Security Bureau permit especially for foreigners.

Other destinations

  • Armkhi — a Soviet resort/sanatorium high in the mountains of southwestern Ingushetia, require Russian Federal Security Bureau permit especially for foreigners.

Understand

The Ingush are relatives of the Chechens and have shared their Sunni Islamic beliefs as well as their fate in rebellion and conquest vis-à-vis the Russians. In the beginning of the 19th century, a Chechen scholar peacefully converted most Ingush into Islam. Like the Chechens, the Ingush were accused by Stalin of Nazi collaboration and were deported to Kazakhstan. When Khrushchev allowed them to return home, they found that their Orthodox Christian neighbors, the Ossetes, had settled on formerly Ingush lands, launching a violent ethnic conflict which rages on today.

Around 1929-1991, Ingushetia was merged with Chechnya to form the Chechen-Ingush ASSR, and became separated. By 1991, the first Ingush president, Ruslan Aushev attempted to help the already weak economy, and when the first Chechen war started, this created a tremendous problem for the economy. It collapsed after Aushev's success. However, he was forced to leave office when the second Chechen war started. Aushev also founded the city of Magas.

By 2002, Murat Zyazikov came into office, and since then the political and economic situation has worsened, and Zyazikov recieved harsh criticism for his disregard for human rights, corruption, and social and political problems. This was because of alleged abductions, illegal beatings, unlawful arrests and killings of suspects by the federal forces and local police and allied paramilitaries. By 2008, a new president, Yunus-bek Yevkurov succeeded the unpopular Zyazikov and began a campaign into improving the situation in the region.

The poor situation in the republic has made it a magnet for terrorism for Chechen and Ingush rebels, and has continued to make it more uneasy for travelers to visit. The region is desperately very poor, where only 5 in 10 are employed and a large part of the people live in severe poverty and live below $2 a day. The prospects of change are seriously remote at present.

Although the majority of Ingushetia's population lives in the larger northern towns, the Ingush consider their true heritage to be tied to the ancient auls (stone mountaintop villages) in the south of Ingushetia, especially along the Assy Gorge.

Get in

By plane

Planes from Moscow (Vnukovo or Domodedovo airport) to Ingushetia Magas (airport near Ordzhonekidzovskaya).

By train

A train leaves from/to Moscow one time for 4 days.

By bus

A daily bus leaves from/to Grozny,Nalchik and Stavropol. Regular buses leaves from/to Moscow . A small buses leaves from/to Nalchik and other north-caucasians,south-russians cities(i.e.,to Vladikavkaz).

Get around

Talk

Russian is understood by all, as well as the official language, Ingush. Ingush is commonly known as ГІалгІай мотт (Ğalğaj mott). Ingush is a language related to Chechen and also other regional languages is common. English is spoken by nobody, even in the largest city, Nazran.

Buy

Costs

Eat

  • "Assa" — restaraunt,located in Nazran
  • "Vstrecha"

Drink

Sleep

"Assa" Hotel-located in Nazran

Learn

  • Ingush State University

Work

Stay safe

Ingushetia is the most lawless region in Russia after Chechnya, and should largely be avoided. Travel is not recommended for Ingushetia until the security situation improves drastically. At present, Ingushetia should be considered a war zone.

Most hotel staff and the local inhabitants are very well aware of the situation in the republic, and are likely to offer you a lot of help. It is wise not to take a stroll all by yourself as you yourself can pose a target opportunity for corrupt and lawless authorities, or maybe, militants. Generally, most staff from hotels will accompany you to avoid any trouble.

A tight security situation is present, and at most checkpoints, they are likely to pull you over if you drive/are in a vehicle with coloured windows. Likewise, these vehicles are of much suspicion, as the security may think you are a terrorist. The security will search your vehicle for suspicious items (weapons, explosives, etc.)

The police force in the region are notoriously very corrupt and lawless, and it is not uncommon for them to pull you over for a bribe. The military at present are not corrupt compared to the police, and soldiers are all over the region, even in hotels to look after the well being of visitors. However, the estimates of infantry at particular buildings vary, depending on the safety of the place.

Phone scams are very rampant in Ingushetia. Due to such risks, it is best no to pick up a phone call from someone you are unfamiliar with. If in a hotel, ask first before you continue on.

Stay healthy

Respect

Ingushetia is an Islamic society, and therefore visitors are required to behave properly. Ingushetia is somewhat a traditionally conservative region with Islamic customs. Even though the region is predominantly Islamic, there is no dress code in effect and most of the locals, even the women are highly westernized. However, some women prefer to wear a veil, but this in general doesn't really apply to female visitors.

The locals in general are interested in getting to know about foreigners, and are generally helpful to visitors around this volatile region. As said, Ingush locals treat visitors like guests, and don't throw this opportunity away.

Even though most Islamic nations ban the consumption of alcohol, Ingush do drink alcohol, and stores selling alcohol are widespread.

Likewise, always keep political opinions to yourself to avoid any danger.

Contact

Mobile

In Ingushetia there are three federal GSM operators (MTS, Beeline, Megafon) and they often have offers that give you a SIM card for free or at least very cheap. If you are planning to stay a while and to keep in touch with Ingushetian and other North-Caucasus people, then you should consider buying a local SIM card instead of going on roaming. If you buy a SIM card from a shop you'll need your passport for identification. It only takes five minutes to do the paperwork and it will cost less than $10.



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