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Ingushetia

Ingushetia (ĭngˌgōshĕtˈēə, –shēˈshə) [key] or Ingush Republic ĭngōshˈ, republic, c.1,240 sq mi (3,210 sq km), Russian Federation, in the N Caucasus. The capital (since 2003) is Magas, a new city in the suburbs of Nazran, the former capital. Ingushetia comprises roughly the western fifth of the former Chechen-Ingush Republic (see Chechnya). The republic of Georgia lies to the south, across the Caucasus, and North Ossetia-Alania lies to the north and west. Farming, cattle raising, and horticulture are key occupations. The Ingush are Sunni Muslims and speak a Caucasian language.

The Ingush migrated from the Caucasus Mts. into the plains from the 16th cent. Long grouped with the Chechens, they were granted autonomy as the Ingush Region in 1924 but joined in the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Region in 1934. Many Ingush, along with Chechens, were deported into Central Asia in 1944 after collaborating with invading German forces during World War II; in 1956 the deportees were repatriated.

After Chechnya declared independence (1991), Ingushetia gained de facto separate status as a republic (formalized in 1992). The republic has suffered from political violence arising from an Islamist-tinged insurgency and government repression; in 2009 there was an assassination attempt on the region's president. The fighting in Chechnya occasionally has spilled over into Ingushetia, and there have been tensions with Chechnya, including disputes over territory. Also in 1992, violence in an Ingush-dominated district of neighboring North Ossetia-Alania (see Ossetia) drove many refugees into Ingushetia; the Ossetian district involved was officially Ingush territory prior to World War II, and remains a source of tension between the two republics.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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