The 21 century marked the outburst of numerous civil protests or social movements different in nature by which society expresses its attitude towards socio-political factors. Since the collapse of Soviet Union Russian Federation experienced a number of major protests which had its effect not only on policy making, formation of new social movements but also on conscious of people who demand their voices to be heard. This, in turn, led to political awareness in regions of Russian Federation.
Revolutions across the Middle East and North Africa, to protests in: Greece against austerity, Cambodia against land grabbing, India for justice in rape cases, to Turkey against the privatization and the protests in the first months of 2014 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, Taiwan, Ukraine and Venezuela show this trend is not slowing.
Ingushetia on the one hand has witnessed it’s fair share of massive protests which unleashed the long unsolved issues and grievances. Peaceful protests took a drastic turn for the worst between 2008-2018 when: (a) the government violated the freedom of assembly, speech/ expression when they resulted to forceful suppression of the protests; (b) the political elite seized the opportunity to annex power by over throwing the regime.
Religious intolerance nonetheless resulted in a long stand-off between authority and the religious community (Salafi stand-off).
In this regard my research question will be, what impacts do protests have on policy change in Ingushetia.
For the purpose of analyses, mixed methods approach will be applied whereby the primary sources will include interviews, whereas the secondary sources will include existing literature.
In order to analyze protest movement the Policy Cycle theory will be applied.
Throughout history, protests have played an important role in overcoming severe repression and demanding democratic and accountable governments like the fight against colonialism, labor struggles and strikes, the civil rights movement, anti-apartheid and anti-communism movements, the fall of communism, women challenging patriarchy, anti-war and anti-capitalist mobilizations, protests against rigged elections. They often become a default political action of how society seeks to change social, political and economic systems.
Instead of viewing protests as a legitimate and necessary part of democratic society and an exercise that ensures good governance and accountability, states often treat protests as a threat; something that has to be controlled, discouraged or eliminated, both through the law and practice.
Despite its frequent use in legal and non-legal set-up the term protest is not defined in international law, therefore for that matter no international legal definition of protest exists. The term comprehends a variety of expressive conducts characterized by the individual or collective expression of oppositional or reactive views, values or interests through some manifested action.
Protest can take up: Forms of collective expression, gatherings or assemblies, in public places (e..g. demonstrations, marches or public rallies) undertaken by individuals united by shared objectives, and include verbal and non-verbal forms of expression. It also encompasses actions that may be characterized as direct action or civil disobedience (e.g. blockades, sit-ins, occupations or boycotts).
Be of common interest, for example participants may be standing in opposition to specific official policies or beliefs, or they might be expressing a specific identity (e.g. gay pride parades) or drawing attention to the disadvantaged or marginalized position of some groups in society.
Target different audiences, like government officials and institutions to those targeting the general public, private associations or corporations. Protests take part in different set-ups, such as roads, squares and streets, parks, regulated open spaces and increasingly also virtually or online.
1.1.1. Protection of Human Rights Engaged in Protests
International human rights instruments do not address the right to protest. However, it has been widely acknowledged, that instead of a distinct right, engaging in a protest encompasses the exercise of a variety of interconnected and interdependent human rights, in particular: the right to freedom of expression; the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association; and the right to participate in the conduct of political affairs.
1.2. Concept of Civil Disobedience
Protests can take form of civil disobedience or direct action when protestors collectively engage in acts that conscientiously and deliberately violate the law. Such actions usually aim at changing objectionable policies and practices of governments or corporations whose actioThe basis for civil disobedience can be linked to the Preamble of the UDHR, which states if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law.
According to the philosophy of civil disobedience, it embodies the recognition that obligations beyond those of the law might compel law breaking, but the doctrine steers that impulse toward a tightly-cabined form of illegal protest nevertheless consistent with respect for the rule of law. Civil disobedience acts as a firebreak between legal protest and rebellion, while simultaneously providing a safety valve through which the profoundly disaffected can vent dissent without resorting to more extreme means.
Some of this form of protests brought important advancements in human rights protection for instance, the anti-slavery movement, the suffragette movement for female enfranchisement, the fight against colonial oppression, civil rights movement to end racial segregation or the organised labour movement. Civil disobedience protests continues to be a widely practiced form of political expression, with the most prominent protests being anti-globalisation protests (e.g. Occupy), protests of environmental activists (e.g. Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior or Sea Shepherd) or various political protests (e.g. FEMEN).
Civil disobedience protests can be categorized into two; (a) Direct, comprising intentional violations of a specific law that, in and of itself, is challenged as unjust; for example the violation of slavery or racial segregation laws, the violation of marijuana possession laws, or the violation of the homosexual propaganda laws; (b) Indirect, involving the violation of a law which is not itself the object of protest; instead, protestors seeks to mobilize public opinion, typically through symbolic action (trespassing on government facility or private property, blocking access to buildings, obstruction of passage). In these cases, protestors do not contest the validity of laws under which they are charged but believe their acts arenecessary as a means to pressure officials to change a different policy, legislation or practice.
It should be recognised that: a.) protests in form of civil disobedience include the exercise of human rights, especially freedom of expression, and allow individuals to engage in political processes which they otherwise have only limited possibility to influence effectively (e.g. through elections); b.) this form of protest can contribute to pluralism and diversity: it enables voicing minority views, helps to reduce the risks of conformity and depriving the public of information that it needs to have.They also allow individuals to vent their concerns without resorting to more extreme means. As such, it is one of features of democracy that balances dissent with order; c.)protestors do not act with malicious motivations; instead, they seek objectives larger that their own immediate self-interests. In comparison to ordinary criminals, they are not denying the fundamental social and constitutional order, they are trying to reform and it; d.) Although the protestors can use other alternatives to raise their concerns and correct the alleged wrongs, those often do not offer a reasonable hope of solution or real remedies. If there is no defence for unjust laws or practices, it is difficult to deny that civil disobedience should not be utilised as a legitimate form of protests.
1.3. Evolution of Protests
Unlocking the power of protest (1215):In the 13th Century, many English serfs were at the mercy of feudal lords which the barons detasted being subjects of the powerful monarchy. With the aim of making peace the Magna Carta gave these barons legal protection against arbitrary monarchical rule. However, most English people were denied their individual rights and as a result, the barons ended up initiating an insurrection against King John. The Magna Carta was later condemned by those resisting authority, not least during the 17th Century English civil war.
The Peasants Revolt (1381):It was one of the great revolts of medieval Europe since the Black Death, in which many English subjects were angered by the poll tax. Led by Wat Tyler, rebels marched from Kent and Essex to London and in which some leaders challenged the existence of the class system.
Martin Luthers 95 Theses (1517):It was the commencement of a grave challenge to the authority of the Catholic Church. The German Augustinian friar Martin Luther increasingly resented the theology and policies of the Church. The trigger was the ability of sinners to give money in return of Gods forgiveness. In 1517, Martin Luther pinned his 95 Theses protesting at various Church practices to a church door in Wittenberg.
Boston Tea Party (1773): ‘No taxation without representation’ became a rallying-cry of British colonists in North America from the 1750s onwards. These taxes were decided across the Atlantic, and included taxes on the importation of tea. When 46 tonnes of tea sent by the East India Company arrived in Boston Harbour, protestors stormed the ship, and threw the tea into the sea. It provoked a strong reaction from the British government, in turn triggering further resistance from colonists. The American Revolution had begun.
The French Revolution (1789-1799):Powerful monarchies and the remnants of feudalism were not only challenged and overthrown in France, but across Europe. The French Revolution was a turning-point in the rise of democracy and freedom not only in France, but across Europe and the world.
The Luddites (1812):They were concerned with labour rights and the free-market. Most were textile artisans resentful of the use of machinery to suppress wages and employ fewer workers. The Industrial Revolution threatened a ‘race to the bottom’, using less skilled labour. Organising collectively for their rights, they represent a big moment in the rise of a British labour movement.
The Suffragettes (1913):In the 18th Century, women were granted conditional suffrage in Sweden, but New Zealand fully gave women the vote in 1893. In Britain, suffragettes were imprisoned and, when on hunger strike, force-fed. They resorted to protest and property damage. In 1918, women over 30 won some rights, but it was not until 1928 that women over 21 could vote.
Civil Rights (1960s):A century after the US Civil War emancipated millions from slavery, African-Americans in several US states were still deprived of basic civil rights. Segregation legally discriminated against black people in work, housing and the right to vote. The movement took root in the 1950s and gathered strength in the 1960s, driving through reforms. The struggle is said to have inspired the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland in the late 1960s, precipitating the Troubles. In South Africa armed struggle against Apartheid lasted for decades, until the regime was dismantled in the 1990s and Nelson Mandela became the countrys first black president.
Thirst for Democracy (1963-1989):In 1986, the Peoples Power revolution overthrew Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines. But the most dramatic wave of popular uprisings began in 1989, when the Eastern European regimes imposed by the Soviet Union in the aftermath of the Second World War were toppled. With the notable exception of Romania, the revolutions were almost entirely peaceful. Recently, revolutions have targeted several Arab tyrannies but often at great human cost.
Standard of Living (1980s and 1990s): Margaret Thatcher and her government in 1979, set about dismantling the post-war consensus. The Miners Strike of 1984/85 was the most dramatic trade union struggle in post-war Britain, and the labour movement never recovered from the defeat. When Thatcher introduced the poll tax in the late 1980s many refused to pay in a widespread act of civil disobedience. There were protests across Britain, culminating in riots in central London in 1990. Not only did the poll tax end up being abolished, but the movement contributed to the removal of Margaret Thatcher from power later in 1990.
Solidarity on the Streets (2015):The rise of social media has played a key role in recent protests, helping to bypass news blackouts either by dictatorships or an unsympathetic media. The overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in the 2011 Egyptian Revolution owed much to organising through Facebook and Twitter. Inspired by the Arab examples, thousands of Spaniards occupied Madrids Puerta del Sol square in protest at the political elite. The so-called indignados encouraged the Occupy movement which spread across the globe, made up of protestors angry that the richest were still thriving in the aftermath of the financial crisis, while the majority the 99% were made to pay for it.
Ingushetia is the youngest and the smallest republic in Russian Federation. In 1934 Stalin united Ingush and Chechen republics forming Chechen-Ingush republic with the capital in Grozny. In 1944, the Vainah (Ingush and Chechen people) were accused of helping the Nazis and deported to Khazakhistan. During this time some parts of Ingushetia was to Ossetiya. Actually, the Russian Tsar and later the Soviet Authority practised the division of land between the Caucasian population on bases of loyalty which till present times cause serious conflicts among the neighboring republics. In 1957 the repressed Vainah population were allowed to return back home and the Chechen – Ingush republic was restored. On 4 of June 1992 right after Chechen Republic proclaimed its Independence from Russian Federation the Ingush republic was founded. It has its own constitution ,which was voted for by Ingush people on referendum in 1994, parliament and the head appointed solely by Russian President.
The Ossetian – Ingush conflict in 1992 of October when all the ethnic Ingush had to flee from Ossetia to Ingushetia and The Chechen Wars in 1994-1996 when not only Ingush nationals but the Chechen themselves moved to Ingushetia caused a refugee crises: the number of refugees were twice more than the natives .All these refugees had great effect on the society of local population.Inflow of refugees mixing with the local Ingush population diluted local society lead to diversity of opinions on social – political issues.
Ingushetia has a high rate of unemployment and poverty ,in spite of the governmental development programs for this region. The high rate of terrorist attacks gradually subsided ,although terrorist threat is still there.There is a building boom of civil info-structure in recent time due to some governmental programs.
2.2. The Ingush Society
In old times the Ingush society consisted of different families united in tribes (teips)according to their origin, the oldest and influential representatives of these teips made decision on important issues. Religious scholars also played an important role in decision making. In 1770 Ingushetia was one of the first republic to join the Russian Impaire volentory. Since that time Russia plays an important influence on Ingush society.
Ingush society is considered to be very closed and quiet united especially taking into consideration many calamities it went through and its unification was the only way to survive and preserve nation integrity. Ingush people were very careful in participating in any civil activities, preserving peace and stability, this is more peculiar to the people of old generation. The person is responsible for actions he commits, words he said and his household. In recent times old generation tends to lose its grasp of influence on society, the youth started gradually makes it own decisions due to many political reasons.
“Due to societal reliance on clan, family, and community in the North Caucasus, most civil associations operated at a municipal or district level and were often of a political nature (Ibid) In Ingushetia, grass-roots civil society took the form of teip (clan) revival (Sokirianskaia 2009:270). In spite of failed efforts of several large teips to take part in the political life of the republic, the teip culture remained in the realm of heritage preservation and cultural rituals (Ibid: 274).