Getting rid of presidents in Northern Caucasian republics rarely ends well. An explosion is bad news: when Akhmat Kadyrov was killed in Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov came to power. When Murat Zyazikov was replaced in Ingushetia, Basaev immediately attacked and anti-terrorist activity in the republic became much worse. The assassination attempt on Ingushetia's Yunus-Bek Yevkurov has brought Ramzan Kadyrov into the picture once more.
The day of the attempt, 22 June, Kadyrov announced after a meeting with Medvedev that the Russian president had asked him to take charge of counter-terrorism in Ingushetia. He added that the prosecutor's office and interior ministry could do whatever they considered necessary, but that he himself would be guided by the laws of the mountains in dealing with the people who had tried to kill his "brother", the president of Ingushetia. Ramzan Kadyrov had previously said in an interview with Ekho Moskvy that he would personally deal with those who even knew anything about the murder of his father (let alone those that carried it out) - and now they are all dead. The prosecutor's office took no action against Kadyrov after these virtual admissions of extrajudicial executions and we can be sure that they will not take any now.
The issue of how to control the war on terrorism in Ingushetia is becoming critical. Ingushetia is currently among the least economically developed regions of Russia, with the highest level of unemployment, but also with one of the highest percentages of young people in the country. The local authorities - at any rate, during the period of Murat Zyazikov's rule - did virtually nothing to address social and economic problems. For the last few years almost every day has seen the murder of members of law-enforcement organisations or other government representatives. So "controlling the anti-terrorist operation" here effectively means controlling the republic.
Actually the possible unification of Chechnya and Ingushetia has been on the cards for a long time. Or rather the annexation i.e. a return to the protection of its "elder brother", as throughout almost the entire Soviet period.
Ingushetia's Soviet history
The Ingushetia Autonomous Oblast with its capital in Vladikavkaz existed for just 10 years (1924-34) as part of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic.
From 1934 Ingushetia was part of the Chechen-Ingush ASSR with its capital in Grozny (from 1934 to 1936 the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Oblast). All that time the Ingush, who with the Chechens belong to the group of Vainakh peoples, shared the fate of the Chechens.
By 1939 there were a total of 92,000 Ingush living in the Soviet Union, while there were over 408,000 Chechens. In 1944 both these peoples suffered a common tragedy - they were declared traitors and deported to Siberia and Kazakhstan. Approximately a third of the population died in the process and their autonomy was destroyed.
It was only in 1957, after a law on rehabilitation had been passed, that the Chechen-Ingush autonomous republic was restored and the Ingush and Chechens returned from exile. According to data for 1959, there were a total of 56,000 Ingush and around 250,000 Chechens living in the RSFSR (and although the total number of them in the Soviet Union reached the figures of 1939 by 1959, only half of the Ingush and Chechens returned home).
About one sixth of the former Ingush lands were not returned to the restored Chechen-Ingush autonomy: the greater part was transferred to North Ossetia. The largest area that became part of Ossetia in 1957 was the Prigorodny region. In 1944 around 30,000 Ingush were living there (almost a third of the ethnic group), accounting for over 90% of the population of the region.
After the deportation of the Ingush, the Prigorodny region and a number of other Ingush territories were settled by Ossetians from the mountainous part of South Ossetia. When the Malgobek and Nazran regions were returned to the Chechen-Ingush ASSR in 1957, the settlers from South Ossetia were not allowed to go back to Georgia. They had to make do with the Prigorodny region and this process continued after 1957 as well. By 1959 the population of the Prigorodny region was 63% Ossetian, 19% Russian and only 12% Ingush. (In 1990, Ingush made up 44% of the population of the region, or 17,500 people). Although the Ingush were not formally prohibited from returning to the region, the authorities de facto not only gave them no assistance, but actually prevented them from doing so. Many of the Ingush who were unable to return to the Prigorodny region, never saw their native villages again and settled in Grozny.
Relationship with Chechnya
For almost 60 years the Ingush remained in the shadow of the more numerous Chechen people. All the major industries, higher education facilities and administrative buildings were located in Grozny. Ingushetia remained a primarily rural area throughout this time, and did not develop in any way. The Ingush intelligentsia was also mainly concentrated in Grozny or in Vladikavkaz. Formally rehabilitated, but still "unreliable", the Vainakhs were hardly ever allowed to take positions of leadership, or work in qualified positions in their own republic - and this affected the Ingush more than the Chechens.
When Chechnya declared independence in the autumn of 1991, the Ingush confirmed at a national referendum that Ingushetia was part of the Russian Federation and no longer belonged to the splinter Chechen-Ingush Republic. On 4 June 1992 the Supreme Council of the RSFSR passed the law "On the formation of the Ingush Republic as part of the Russian Federation". This had a lot to do with the understanding that if they seceded from Russia, the Ingush would lose any hope of getting back the Prigorodny region. In the spring of 1991 the Supreme Council of the RSFSR passed the law "On the rehabilitation of repressed people", which among other things recognised "their right to the restoration of territorial integrity".
However, the first law did not determine the administrative borders of the new territorial formation, and the second ("On rehabilitation") failed to lay down a procedure for the return of the territories. Georgia's claims on South Ossetia at the time of the collapse of communism led to a new wave of refugees into the Prigorodny region. All this effectively planted a time bomb that was to explode less than six months later when Ingushetia became involved in an armed conflict in the Prigorodny region of Northern Ossetia, the consequences of which in many ways still determine policies in the region.
One of these consequences was a wave of refugees. Almost all ethnic Ingush were forced to leave the territory of North Ossetia. Ingushetia, which had a total population of around 170,000 in the national census of 1989, took in 30-60,000 people, which created huge problems for the republic.
It was this week-long conflict that brought the Ingush together, gave them an acute sense that they were a separate people, and that their republic should be an independent administrative entity. So you might say that modern Ingushetia came into being as a result of the clashes with Ossetia when the Soviet Union collapsed.
The border with Ossetia was practically closed for the Ingush after this conflict. At the same time, neighbouring Chechnya had unilaterally announced independence and was leading its own internal political life, keeping its distance from the Prigorodny conflict. To this day the Ingush resent the fact that the Chechens failed to come to their aid at this time.
When the Soviet army general Ruslan Aushev came to power in Ingushetia, it embarked on a political life of its own. It had to demonstrate its independence not only to its neighbours, but to the rest of Russia, which the Ingush felt had treated it unjustly, joining the conflict entirely on the side of their opponents.
President Aushev succeeded in having Ingushetia declared a privileged economic zone. From 1 July 1994 all enterprises registered in the republic were exempted for a year from paying local taxes, and received considerable privileges in paying federal taxes. As a result of Aushev's efforts, by the end of 1994 there was a state concern, Ingushneftegazkhimprom, uniting 14 oil and gas processing enterprises, the first asphalt factory had opened and there were regular flight to and from Moscow.
Refugees from the 1st Chechen War
However, the period of calm was not to last long. In December 1994the first Chechen war broke out and, although military operations did not spread to Ingushetia, there was a wave of refugees from Chechnya. There are no precise figures, but estimates suggest this was around 150,000 people. The combination of new refugees and those from the Prigorodny region proved an insufferable burden for the republic. Ingushetia became a hub of refugee camps.
After the end of the war in 1996, the majority of Chechen refugees returned home, while many Ingush who had been living in Grozny preferred to stay in Ingushetia and settle down there, closer to their relatives. The Ingush intelligentsia returned, which was important for the subsequent development of the republic, especially as the exodus of the non-Vainakh population was continuing. The population of the capital at the time, Nazran, grew swiftly: in 1989 it had been under 20,000, but by this time it had grown to 125,000.
The second Chechen war meant a new wave of refugees for the republic, bigger than ever before. Approximate estimates show that around 350,000 people left Chechnya at that time. General Shamanov decreed that all regions of the Russian Federation were to close their administrative borders to refugees. President Aushev alone refused to do this, which saved thousands of lives. Ingushetia took almost all the migrants from Chechnya and the population of the republic doubled over several months. Subsequently, the number of refugees dropped to 150,000 over the course of half a year, and remained at this level until the end of 2002.
Humanitarian organisations, both international and Russian, helped the Ingush government to deal with this very difficult situation and until 2007 their missions were based in the peaceful city of Nazran. Their work included the distribution of humanitarian aid, supporting educational projects and giving mini-loans to help small businesses. The Ingush themselves say that there were many positive changes when the Chechens came to Ingushetia. The service sector began to develop - shops, hair salons and sewing workshops opened up and privately-owned public transport became more efficient. However, the large number of refugees also contributed to a rise in crime, and in a country with major employment problems, humanitarian aid tended to corrupt people - especially the younger generation. As the situation in Chechnya became relatively stable, the number of refugees dropped, but there are still quite a lot of them.
Last year a Chechen refugee in the village of Ekazhevo stopped my colleague and me on the street. She had seen that we were clearly not locals (in other words, Muscovites - almost no one else comes here), so she threw on a jacket and rushed out, thinking that perhaps we could help her. She had been living in a barn with her children for almost 10 years.
With the refugees almost inevitably came the insurgents. Anti-terrorist operations in Chechnya were continuing, so militants in Ingushetia were no longer just "sitting it out": after 2002 they started operating from inside the republic. Counter-terrorism became part of life in the republic and led to mass crimes and human rights violations: militants attack police and the military, officials are killed, there are "special operations", in which law-enforcement officers carry out executions without trials and kidnap people.
Originally the armed underground consisted mainly of Chechen rebels, who had moved to the neighbouring republic to escape from federal troops, but later (and to a large degree because of the brutality of the law-enforcement officers), the Ingush began to take a more active role in the underground. Once peaceful Ingushetia is no more.
The Chechen wars exacerbated internal problems, but they also complicated relations between the Ingush and the outside world. The average Russian citizen cannot really tell a Chechen from an Ingush, and neither can the average policeman or any other government representative. Negative attitudes towards Chechens began to be extended to the related Vainakh people, the Ingush. This made it difficult for them to move around and affected their relations with the rest of the country.
The beginning of 2002 was a turning point in the life of the republic: Ruslan Aushev, who had led the country since 1993, resigned. He had called for an immediate ceasefire by federal troops in Chechnya and peace talks. He was accused of sympathising with Chechen insurgents. Former allies within the republic accused him of establishing a dictatorship. In December 2001 Aushev stood down.
In April 2002 presidential elections were held. The FSB general Murat Zyazikov was actively promoted by central government and in the second round on 28 April 2002 he was elected president of Ingushetia. The authorities lost no opportunity of manipulating the elections and made good use of the advantages of administrative office.
On 21-22 June 2004 the republic was stunned when a large group of militants led by Shamil Basaev seized several towns in the space of a few hours, including the cities of Nazran and Karabulak. The militants established checkpoints at crossings, checked documents and shot law-enforcement officers on the spot. This was the largest operation by insurgents in Ingushetia. It resulted in the deaths of 78 law-enforcement officers and escalating internal conflict.
The terrorist act in the North Ossetian city of Beslan on 1-3 September 2004 led to a new escalation of the conflict in the Prigorodny regions. Ethnic Ingush took part in the seizure of the school, where over 300 people were killed and immediately after the tragedy there were calls in the Ossetian media for " revenge on the Ingush".
In the second half of 2007-2008 attacks on uniformed officers and government representatives and acts of terrorism took place almost every day. In the summer of 2007 an additional military contingent of 2,500 Russian troops was sent to Ingushetia to maintain order.
Now there are ever fewer people in Ingushetia: the entire population is under half a million.... This winter a friend who came to Moscow to work told me: "Yesterday I waited about half an hour for a friend in the metro underpass. I saw 15 or so people from Ingushetia. I know the Ingush by their faces. Sometimes I think that over the last year and a half there are more of them in Moscow than in Ingushetia. Whoever you ask about, they're all here. It's all rather strange. But what sort of a life can people have there now?"
At the same time the inefficiency of the local government became a real problem. President Murat Zyazikov's powers were extended in 2005 at the request of the Russian President, but he had no influence on the situation and was unable to solve of the most important problems. He failed to protect people from insurgent attacks or the lawlessness of uniformed officers, to ensure economic development, create jobs, to uphold what the majority of the population sees as their national interests, or deal with corruption.
In 2007 social dissatisfaction in society reached a critical level. There was no democratic system for exerting pressure on the government, so new forms of protest started appearing - mass street rallies, an attempt to revive the traditional legislative body, the Mekkh Kkhel, and the use of various information technologies. The local political opposition took up the movement that had begun at grass roots level with demands to stop the practice of kidnapping people.
Protests continued for over a year and resulted in the replacement of the president in October-November 2008. Murat Zyazikov was removed from his post by a decree of the Russian president. The new president was a native of Ingushetia, career army officer Yunus-Bek Yevkurov.
But in spite of all the changes and upheavals the republic continued to exist. An existence full of resentment and in complete isolation. They can't travel freely westwards to Ossetia because of the conflict that flared up in 1992 when communism ended, and also because of the Beslan incident in 2004. But their relationship with Chechnya is much more complicated. Or rather, much more painful. The Chechens are the people closest to the Ingush, they share a common history, a common life, but... they can't go there anymore, and a return to Grozny for the Ingush is not possible.
The Ingush, who fled from the war in Grozny to their villages, found their apartments destroyed or looted when they returned. They had not been able return to check their homes as often as the Chechens - the border between Ingushetia and Chechnya with its checkpoints became one of the most dangerous places in the entire Caucasus. After the war, when there are no relatives around to help, it is not so easy to rebuild your house. For many, Grozny simply ceased to exist.
Ingushetia, the smallest republic of all the Russian republics, is shaped like a telephone receiver - 50-60 km wide in the southern and northern extremities and not more than 20 km in the middle. Squashed between two neighbouring republics, for the Ingush the border represents the dividing line between home and a hostile outside world.
This is why in Russia today many Ingush have become refugees twice over: first they were forced to abandon their homes in the Prigorodny region and begin a new life in Grozny, then they had to flee again from the Chechen wars. The more traditional rural Ingush did not find it easy to become integrated, even in Chechen society, and to this day Ingush families try not only to marry their daughter to an Ingush man, but to marry their son to an Ingush woman as well. Once in Ingushetia, they are often unable to resettle in rural life after having lived in one of the largest and most developed cities of the North Caucasus.
Magomed left Grozny during the first war and now lives in Karabulak. He only remembers Grozny occasionally:
"Go back there? What have they got there? I was in Grozny recently, on the street I grew up on, where I spent almost all of my childhood. I don't know anyone there now - just one or two families have remained. The people who used to live there are not there any more. I consider myself a local here now."
There are many "locals" here now. Very many. What used to be the Grozny urban intelligentsia (those who didn't move further away) have ended up in small, rural Ingushetia. They live in the town of Nazran, which is essentially an overgrown village, but a peaceful place. Even if former teachers from Grozny universities say with a sigh that there used to be several technical colleges there and now there are five universities, they don't want to go back either. They don't even want to go back to a Grozny that is being actively rebuilt. A Grozny that has ceased to become an anti-terrorist operation zone:
"Is there a feeling of stability there? Of course not. Where could it come from? It's a serious ordeal when a person is living there, going to work and bringing up children, when suddenly bombs start falling. We had to flee to this place, and if we go back, no one guarantees that we won't have to flee again tomorrow. So perhaps we are better off here."
Of course, not all the Ingush left Chechnya. There were some who survived both wars. And some of them didn't. In 2007 the European court for human rights handed down a decision on another "Chechen case" - the Tangieva case. The elderly parents of a friend and colleague were killed together with their Russian neighbour in Grozny, in their own house, during a "clean-up operation" in January 2000. After a few months and with great difficulty, their children were able to take their bodies to Ingushetia and bury them there. They didn't return to Chechnya. Shamil is the only one of the brothers and sisters who remained in Grozny, in his parents' burnt-out house. Now the house has been almost completely rebuilt, but as soon as they can, both he and his relatives want to rebuild their house in their native village in the Prigorodny region.
Ingushetia as a transit point
After 17 years of independence in the shadow of the more famous Chechnya, the Ingush still feel that they are regarded as an add-on and people often don't even know about the existence of Ingushetia:
"On many sites, when you want to fill in the box about where you are from, you write Checheno-Ingushetia. I recently registered on the Classmates [Friends Reunited equivalent ed.] site, and Ingushetia was not there at all. Our towns - Nazran and Karabulak - were classified as part of the Chechen republic, i.e. it didn't even show that this was Ingushetia. So I ended up writing that I was from the Chechen Republic, Nazran".
Chechnya has overshadowed almost everything: by now Ingushetia had become simply a transit point for human rights advocates, journalists and politicians. Planes flew here, there was a hotel, there was Internet, there was running water - but almost everyone was going on to Chechnya. Then it became possible to fly directly to Chechnya, Internet access improved there, and Ingushetia turned into one of the least stable republics in the Caucasus.
People started to talk and write about Ingushetia. At the end of 2007 a paper by the Memorial Human Rights Centre was published, "Whither Ingushetia?" and in December 2008 there was a Human Rights Watch report "As if they've come from the moon! Anti-terrorism, human rights violations and impunity in Ingushetia". Moscow journalists began coming here to report on protest meetings. The local authorities, unaccustomed to so much attention, clearly didn't know what to do about it - journalists and human rights advocates were kidnapped and beaten up, or "deported" to neighbouring Ossetia. Press conferences were organized in Moscow to explain the hostile actions of the slanderers.
In neighbouring Chechnya there are ongoing building programmes, the young president is bringing money into the republic and the job opportunities are better. People in Ingushetia may feel envious of this, but when Ramzan Kadyrov came to power and there was talk of unifying the two republics, the Ingush were almost unanimously opposed. When asked why, they simply said: "Then there will be a war here too. There will be a lot of blood".
Despite the poverty of the region, the Ingush understand very well what is happening in Chechnya. When asked about independence from Russia, they say: "No. We remember too well what happened to Chechnya." They also know how the Chechen law-enforcement officers work: how they came to refugee camps in Ingushetia and took people away, or shot Ingush policemen who tried to inspect them. They also know that if they become part of Chechnya again, then they will be the "younger brother": they won't be able to take any decisions, and they won't be able to return to "their" Grozny anyway - simply because this Grozny no longer exists.
The issue of national self-determination became a hot topic again at the end of last year. The occasion for this was the Federal Law „On organising local government in the Republic of Ingushetia and the Chechen Republic" of 24 November 2008. The republic has disputed territories on all sides, so there was active discussion about how the border with Chechnya would be determined, and most importantly what would happen to villages of the Prigorodny region. The passing of the law practically coincided with the appointment of the new Ingush president.
Kadyrov's pretensions to Ingushetia
One of the main disappointments concerning Yevkurov that I picked up in Ingushetia was that he made no attempt to get the Prigorodny region back. All he did was declare that refugees should be able to return there. The Prigorodny question still comes up in almost every conversation with any resident of Ingushetia. In the past people have even said that if Kadyrov were here in Ingushetia, then perhaps he would be able to get the region back.
Kadyrov's current move on Ingushetia is not his first attempt to lay claim to neighbouring territory. When he was the first deputy prime minister of Chechnya in 2005, Ramzan Kadyrov said that the most important problem for the newly-elected Chechen parliament was to extend the borders. "This question has been dragging on for about 15 years. During this time, the borders were moved by anybody who felt like it, and the territory of Chechnya has been significantly reduced." He emphasised that "...the issue of Chechen native land concerns the whole people. Now the time has come for parliament to investigate."
The Dagestan and Ingush authorities alike expressed their bewilderment over this statement. But back then Ramzan Kadyrov was only deputy prime minister, and it seemed that this was simply the naked ambition of a young leader who didn't have enough power.
The Chechen leadership subsequently acted more cautiously. In 2006 only the chairman of the National Assembly of the Chechen republic, Dukvakha Abdurakhmanov, expressed an opinion on the territorial claims. He said that a number of Chechen regions were located inside Dagestan, and that the unification of the Chechen Republic and the Republic of Ingushetia was essential, because the division had taken place artificially and without a referendum. Ramzan Kadyrov tried to distance himself from these statements, saying that this was the personal opinion of the Chairman of the National Assembly, and in no way connected with the official position of the Chechen authorities. However, the official who came out with this controversial statement which ostensibly went against the official position of the national leader (not yet the president at that time) continued to hold his post - clearly there were no real disagreements on this issue.
The following year, when he became president, Kadyrov began to declare his ambitions to extend his informal suzerainty in the region. But this time he went about it much more tactfully and at a different level: at a meeting of leaders of North Caucasus regions, the Chechen president proposed to meet each month to discuss common problems.
The future of Ingushetia, Russia's youngest republic, has been much discussed over the past few years. But now, after Ramzan Kadyrov has moved in there, it is time to formulate the question differently: will it now exist at all? They've had 17 years of independence, but to what end? 17 years of living with a feeling of injustice, that they've lost everything and will have to start from scratch. A feeling that all this has to be endured, because things are even worse for their neighbours and that all there is to hope for is that one day this will end.
Kadyrov has come to Ingushetia, but I don't think we should expect that he will bring us money, as he did to Chechnya. He has none of the right connections here yet, nor anyone who is personally obliged to him. He doesn't have a local support system, whereby everyone is obliged to pay tribute to him. The danger is that the Ingush won't get from Kadyrov the things that they like about him - only the things that they don't.
After the August 2008 war in Georgia, people in Ingushetia didn't wonder (as they did in Chechnya): "How come Russia gave independence to these people who only number in the tens of thousands, but not to us, of whom there are a million?!" But they did wonder: "What about the Ossetians? Are they really independent now?" What the Ingush remember is that at the fall of communism in 1992 Ossetians had come from South Ossetia to fight them.
In August 2008 central TV channel correspondents were saying that Ossetia had been, and remains, Russia's outpost in the Caucasus. The Russian Prosecutor's Office was talking about genocide. And yet again the Ingush got the feeling that no one cared about them.
When Zyazikov was dismissed and Yevkurov appointed, many people became hopeful again and some even came back to live in Ingushetia. But now there's Kadyrov.
On the day after the Chechen President's statement, Ruslan Aushev, who had refused all proposals to return to the republic after 2002, announced publicly that he was ready to be the leader of Ingushetia while Yunus-Bek Yevkurov was in hospital, if everything was organised according to correct legal procedures. Aushev also said that the president of the neighbouring republic had enough problems of his own. The Ingush opposition, citing Ruslan Aushev's statement, began gathering signatures to support this course of action. Aushev was forced to explain that he had not called on anyone to take any action.
Kadyrov's reaction was immediate. He described Aushev's statements as inappropriate and incorrect, and announced that it was under Aushev's rule that "bandits of all kinds had made their nests in Ingushetia". Kadyrov believes that Aushev not only took no action against members of illegal armed formations, but had "concealed Maskhadov, Basaev and other heads of bandit groups on the territory of Ingushetia". "We pointed out on several occasions during Aushev's rule that there were militant ringleaders hiding out in Ingushetia, that they were being sheltered. Aushev reacted badly to these reports, and took no steps to fight terrorism as we did in Chechnya". "Today in Ingushetia, the results of Aushev's irresponsible attitude to the problem of terrorism are still making themselves felt," the Chechen president concluded.
Now that Kadyrov is making all these statements after the assassination attempt on Yevkurov, giving orders to the Chechen law-enforcement officers to deal with the terrorist underground in Ingushetia in two weeks, we should remember his speech in 2005 about the poor work of the law-enforcement bodies of neighbouring republics in dealing with armed opposition groups. "Militants feel comfortable in Dagestan and Ingushetia, and some other republics. In my opinion the Dagestan Interior Ministry is particularly ineffective in dealing with them. They relax there, get treatment for their injuries, and then slip across the border into Chechnya, kill state officials and policemen, and leave to go into hiding until the next time". At the same time, Kadyrov claimed there were no ethnic Chechens left among the insurgents in Chechnya itself.
Kadyrov talked about the rebels in Ingushetia and Dagestan in 2005 at the same time as he was making claims on the neighbouring territories.
It seems very unlikely that Aushev will stand in for Yevkurov in Ingushetia now, even temporarily, in which case the Russian authorities will have to make Kadyrov's appointment official. The Kremlin does not look as though it is prepared to do this or that it even wants to. So the issue now is not only whether Ingushetia continues as an independent republic. It's not just a question of whether the Ingush will continue to be loyal to Russia. In the end it's about what Russia decides to do with its policy in the Caucasus as a whole.
 V. Belozerov. Etnicheksya Karta severnogo Kavkaza (Ethnic Map of the North Caucasus). Moscow, OGI, 2005. 304 p.
 In 2007, in connection with the escalating situation in the republic and shots fired at the "UN town" in Nazran, the UN raised the danger level of Ingushetia to 4 points on the 5-point scale, and moved its offices to Vladikavkaz. All other international organizations subsequently followed their example.
 Murat Zyazikov did not wait until the end of his presidential term. In accordance with the new procedure of appointing regional heads, the question of confidence was put before the president of the Russian Federation. The republican parliament was asked to approve the extension for another term.