Footage of Daghestani police confronting their Chechen counterparts has prompted a swift response from the head of Chechnya, and has led to a public apology from the man who filmed the video.
In the video, published by the pro-Chechen government Instagram account Chp_Checchnya, Daghestani police are seen stopping a Chechen police car which has flashing lights on.
As they begin an inspection, an eyewitness is heard saying, ‘That’s right, the demons shouldn’t turn their flashing lights on here.’
As the video continues, a verbal altercation begins, in which the Chechen officers explain that they are on their way home, and address the Daghestani officers as ‘brothers’. The Daghestani officers respond that ‘you need to behave like brothers, and stop throwing your weight around’.
One of the Chechen officers starts speaking Chechen, claiming to be trying to ascertain if any of the police officers who had stopped them were Chechen. A Daghestani officer responds by telling them to speak in ‘an understandable language’.
‘In Daghestan, they’re going after Chechens again’, the video’s description stated. ‘If [a law was] violated, please follow the formal protocol. What kind of Nazi-ish movement is this?… Pure provocation.’
The head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, reacted to the video the day it was published in a post on Telegram. He noted that in Chechnya ‘[we] have a very negative attitude towards inciting ethnic hatred’.
‘I want to warn those who attempt to stage provocations against Chechen and Daghestani drivers… There are no such cases [of prejudice] in the Chechen Republic. On our roads, if someone is fined, it is only for traffic violations. I expect that there will not be [any cases of prejudice] in Daghestan either. No one should pursue this matter any further. The conflict is resolved,’ wrote Kadyrov.
On the same day, Chechen pro-government social media accounts began to publish videos of drivers from Daghestan removing tinted film from their windows.
According to the anti-government Telegram channel 1ADAT, Ramzan Kadyrov ‘gave the order’ for cars with Daghestani numberplates not to be let into Chechnya if they had tinted windows. They said the rule had not been applied to vehicles from other regions.
On 31 August, Chp_Checchnya published a follow-up video in which the Daghestani man who filmed and commented on the situation provided a public apology.
An hour later, Kadyrov wrote on his Telegram channel, noting ‘the connection between the two regions and their rich history.’
‘There is a wise rule that says it is better not to bring a brewing conflict to a climax and resolve differences before the intensity of passions reaches high temperatures. And I am always pleased if I see that a man who has committed an act that does not flatter him, admits his mistake in a timely and sincere manner.’