- (1991–1992)Poor relations between the Orthodox, Indo-European Ossetians and the Caucasian Muslim Ingush date back centuries; however, recent disputes are the outgrowth of Joseph Stalin’s deportation of the Ingush to Central Asia during World War II (1939–1945). Upon the rehabilitation and return to the ethnic homelands in the North Caucasus, many Ingush found themselves spatially and economically displaced by Ossetian settlers. The depopulation of the Prigorodny District of the ChechenoIngush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic and its transfer to North Ossetiya was also a major issue in interethnic relations. PostSoviet reforms provided the displaced Ingush with legal grounds to attempt to reclaim the region just as North Ossetiya was absorbing large numbers of their co-nationals fleeing the Georgia-South Ossetia conflict (1991–1992).In an environment where weapons were readily available, the dispute between the Ingush and Ossetians soon turned violent. In November 1992, open warfare broke out, requiring the deployment of Russian peacekeepers. More than 500 died in the skirmishes, with tens of thousands of people displaced. Moscow’s apparent support of the Christian Ossetians riled many Caucasian Muslims in the region, making North Ossetiya a target for Islamist terror attacks. The Beslan hostage crisis, which targeted Ossetian schoolchildren, reopened communal prejudices in the region when it was discovered that a majority of the hostage takers were ethnic Ingush.
Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. Robert A. Saunders and Vlad Strukov. 2010.
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