Republic of Ingushetia

Feb. 27, 2005 12:19 PM (GMT +0300) Moscow

Republic of Ingushetia

The Ingush Republic (Ingushetia) is located on the northern slopes of the
Greater Caucasus foothills. Nature in Ingushetia is a striking combination
of emerald vegetation, yellow and violet cliffs, and the pearly gleam of
far-off snow-covered peaks.

The republic has a continental climate with an average January temperature
ranging from -3 to -10°C, and average July temperatures from +21 to +23°C.
Annual precipitation averages 450-650 mm but ranges up to 1200 mm.

Ingushetia has an area of 3600 km2 and extends 144 km from north to south
and 72 km from west to east. The republic borders on the Chechen Republic,
Georgia, and the Republic of North Ossetia.


The Ingush Republic was formed on June 4, 1992. It has 4 administrative
districts (Nazranovsky, Malgobeksky, Sunzhensky, and Dzhairakhsky) and 45
population centers, including 4 cities. Two cities, Nazran and Malgobek, are
under republican jurisdiction. The capital of Ingushetia is the city of
Magas, which despite the skeptics’ predictions, is being built up and
becoming greener. The Sunzha is the main river.

Ingushetia has a population of 314 900 people, most of whom are native
Ingushes, although Chechens and Russians also live in the republic. The
population density is 85 people per km2.

The Ingushes are one of the most ancient peoples of the North Caucasus.
Mountainous Ingushetia (Dzhairakha, Galgaiche, Armkhi, and Guloi-khi gorges
and the Targim Basin) is the homeland of the Ingush people and the center of
their distinctive culture.

Many architectural complexes that are genuine masterpieces of native art are
preserved in the valleys of the Armkhi, Guloi-khi, and Assa rivers.

The unsurpassed beauty of the mountain landscapes, rich plant and animal
life, mountain rivers, and rare and unique historical and cultural monuments
of this part of the North Caucasus have always attracted large numbers of
travelers, explorers, and tourists. For this reason, development of the
tourist business would be a promising means of acquainting the curious with
this unique territory and replenishing the republican treasury.


The ancestors of the Ingushes were the native North Caucasian tribes known
as the Nakhcho, who are first mentioned in Armenian sources dating from the
7th century A.D. They originally lived the mountains and began migrating
onto the plains to the Terek and Sunzha river valleys only in the 15th and
16th centuries. The territories inhabited by the Nakhcho were subjected to
devastating Tatar raids in the 13th century and invasions by Tamerlane’s
forces in the late 14th century. Islam began to spread from Dagestan in the
late 16th century. In the 18th century, the Nakhcho tribes split up into the
Chechens and Ingushes.

In 1810, the Ingushes voluntarily joined the Russian Empire. They supported
the Bolsheviks during the Civil War, preventing General Denikin [a leader of
the “White” anti-Bolshevik forces] from entering Vladikavkaz. On January 20,
1921, the Mountain (Gorskaya) Republic within Russia was formed by a
decision of the All-Union Central Executive Committee (VTsIK) and the Ingush
territories were included in it as Narzansky District. The Ingush Autonomous
Region within Russia was subsequently formed on July 7, 1924, with the
administration located in the city of Ordzhonikidze (now Vladikavkaz). The
city was then simultaneously the capital of both the North Ossetian and
Ingush autonomous regions. The Ingush and Chechen autonomous regions were
united into the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Region on January 15, 1934, and
then reorganized into the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist
Republic (ASSR) on December 5, 1936.

In 1942-1943, German forces occupied part of the Ingush territory.
Accusations of collaborating with the Germans were used as grounds for
deporting the Ingushes to Central Asia, where hundreds of thousands of
people died in exile. The Chechen-Ingush ASSR was liquidated and the
territory divided among Russia, Georgia, Dagestan, and North Ossetia.

The republic was restored in 1957, and Grozny once again became its capital.
However, Prigorodny District comprising nearly half of the territory of
Lowland Ingushetia remained part of the North Ossetian ASSR. In November
1990, the Supreme Soviet of the Chechen-Ingush ASSR passed a Declaration of
the republic’s national sovereignty; and in May 1991, the republic was
renamed the Chechen-Ingush Republic. Finally, in December 1992, the 7th
Congress of People’s Deputies of the Russian Federation passed a resolution
reorganizing the Chechen-Ingush Republic into separate Ingush and Chechen
republics within the Russian Federation.


The republic’s elevated relief is made up of mountain ranges divided by
valleys and gorges. The highest point is Stolovaya Mountain (elevation 2993
m above sea level). The Caucasus Mountains extend for about 150 km through
Ingushetia. The Terek and Assa rivers cross the republic from south to
north, and the Sunzha River, from west to east. The soils are mainly fertile
black earths (chernozems). Winters are generally mild and summers are hot,
but the temperature varies with altitude, which is typical of mountainous
regions. The natural and climatic conditions are favorable for agriculture;
thus, 60% of the republic’s territory is designated as agricultural land,
about half of which is cropland.

Forests cover 140 000 hectares of Ingushetia’s territory and are an
important natural resource. They consist mainly of mixed deciduous tracts,
including valuable species such as beech, oak, and plane.

The mountain rivers of Ingushetia are a significant source of hydroelectric

Mineral resources investigated to date consist of high-quality oil (probable
reserves of more than 60 million tons) and gas fields and deposits of marble
and marble-like building materials, dolomite, shell limestone, high-quality
brick earth, thermal therapeutic water, and mineral water similar to
Borjomi. Geologists have also discovered subsurface deposits of rare metals.
Reserves of the minerals listed above are sufficient for an average of
100-150 years.

Explored commercial oil reserves are estimated at 11 million tons. Oil
production could reach 500 000 tons per year given sufficiently large
capital investments, although actual production is 125 000 tons. The state
company Ingushneftegazprom is developing the fields. Funds were raised in
1997-1998 to complete drilling operations at the Yandyrskaya well and to
sink a new well in the promising Karabulak-Achaluk field.


The main crops grown in Ingushetia are corn, wheat, oats, barley, sugar
beets, sunflowers, and potatoes. Cattle, sheep (primarily fine-fleeced
breeds), and pig farming are also well developed.

Sections of the North Caucasus Railway and the federal Rostov-Baku highway
pass through the Ingush Republic. The total length of all roads is about 900
km, including 651 km of paved roads and 250 km of gravel roads. The
Ingushetia domestic airport is operating, and construction is continuing at
the present time. Ingushetia has a telephone network that includes an
automatic intercity network, as well as radio and television that cover the
territory of the republic and North Ossetia.

The chemical, oil refining, engineering, building material, light, and food
industries are the leading industrial sectors in the Ingush Republic.


Ingushetia is a presidential republic within the Russian Federation. The
republic’s present Constitution was adopted in 1994. The highest legislative
body is a unicameral parliament, the National Assembly. Prior to this, the
People’s Congress of Ingushetia consisting of 140 deputies functioned as the
parliament. The Council of Ministers exercises direct leadership of the


Over a period of millennia, this nation has been fated to endure many
trials. The culture of the Ingushes is noted for its distinctive character,
which is reflected in the rare and unique historical and cultural monuments
located in the republic. The Dzhairakha-Assa state historical and
architectural museum preserve protects these valuable sites. In this magical
setting, majestic tower complexes of a people with a centuries-old culture
blend smoothly into a single whole with the mountain landscape.

The architecture of the 13th to 18th centuries has a defensive function due
to the constant threat of nomad attacks from the north. A large complex of
stone battle towers and dwellings, burial crypts, pagan sanctuaries, and
Christian churches has been preserved along the Armkhi, Guloi-khi, and Assa
rivers. The towers were built in inaccessible places and were not only a
reliable defense, but also a symbol of a clan’s power and its military

Between the 9th and 12th centuries, architecture came under the influence of
Christianity, and Christian churches were built in collaboration with
Georgian architects. A striking example is the church of Tkhaba-Erdy (Holy
Two Thousand), one of the most important churches in the North Caucasus and
clear evidence of the close economic, military, and cultural ties between
the Ingushes and the people of Georgia.

However, the region has more than just a wealth of historical and cultural
monuments. Native handicrafts and trades flourished in the highlands
isolated from the outside world. These trades were an important part of the
Ingush economy. The armourer’s trade was especially advanced because of the
constant threat of attack from outside. Offensive and defensive weapons
employed included bows, crossbows, spears, pikes and javelins, swords,
broadswords and sabers, knives, and axes. Warriors used armor, hauberks,
helmets, shields, elbow guards, and chain mail gauntlets as protection.
Leather working was another widespread trade. Hunters and shepherds wore
traditional shoes made of plaited tanned leather thongs. Various boots,
shoes, and slippers served as outdoor footwear. Leather was also used to
make tobacco pouches, casings, belts, holsters, and other similar items.
Although leather working was practiced in every village, by the late 19th
century, factory-made shoes started being imported.

Other well-developed crafts among the Ingushes were the production of felt
carpets brightly decorated with plant and other motifs and woodworking.
Almost all household utensils and furniture were made of wood. The
manufacture of wooden and iron farm implements also occupied an important
place in the economy. Potters produced grain storage vessels, pitchers, and
cups decorated with wavelike patterns. The Ingush settlements of Shali,
Duba-Yurt, Stary-Yurt, and Novy-Yurt were centers of the pottery trade.
Blacksmiths made sheep-shearing shears, household knives, chains, cauldrons,
sickles, and other household articles. Stonemasons created unique grave
markers and religious monuments, archways, and floors that required special
skill to shape the stone properly. Jewelers crafted a wide variety of metal
earrings and pendants differing in sophistication of form and intricacy of
work. They made gold and silver crescent-shaped, eight-bladed pendants
resembling the headbands worn by Vyatkans. Egikal, Tsori, Erzi, and Evloi
were among the jewelry-making centers of Ingushetia.

The Ingushes have a rich and varied folklore of traditions, legends, epics,
tales, songs, proverbs, and sayings. Folksongs are highly esteemed. Music
and dance have grown out of ancient traditions. Popular musical instruments
include the dekhch-pandr [a kind of balalaika], kekhat pondur [accordion], a
three-stringed violin, zurna [a type of clarinet], tambourine, and drums.
Girls generally play the accordion. The lezghinka [a Caucasian dance
performed in pairs] is a favorite dance at festivals. The intellectual
culture of the Ingushes includes a large store of values accumulated over
the centuries, such as a calendar, counting, measurement system, and
knowledge of the land, animals, weather, astronomy, etc.

Islam is the second-largest religious denomination in the Russian
Federation, which has a Muslim population larger than that of any eastern
country. Islam is the religion of more than 30 Russian native peoples who
lived here even before the appearance of the Russian state. In 642, ten
years after the death of the prophet Muhammad, Islam reached the city of
Derbent in Dagestan after its capture by forces of the Arab caliphate. Islam
spread from Dagestan to neighboring territories, although the highlanders
adopted it much later. Islam spread to Ingushetia from Chechnya, first to
the plains and foothills in 16th-18th centuries and then to the mountains in
the early 19th century. The faith was firmly established among the Ingushes
in the first half of the 19th century. The last Ingush village (aul) to
adopt Islam (1861) was Gvileti, located in the upper Daryal Gorge.

Official Server of the Ingush Republic:

Ingush Informational Server:

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress