federal subject of Russia, republic of Russia

Travel Warning WARNING: There is a strong risk of murder and kidnappings by local gangs or by government forces, high-profile crimes, periodic civil disorders and terrorist activity. Travellers should consult to their embassy and request expert information before travelling to the region. Several Western governments advise against all travel to Ingushetia.
Government travel advisories
(Information last updated 25 Dec 2023)

Ingushetia is a republic in Russia's North Caucasus bordering North Ossetia to the west, Chechnya to the east, and Georgia to the south. The region is the smallest in Russia. It is often said to be Russia's "least Russian" region, as only 1% of the population is made up of ethnic Russians.

Cities edit

Map of Ingushetia

There are four main towns. Magas, the new and growing capital, will eventually become the fifth:

  • 1 Magas — founded from scratch in 1995 as the administrative capital of Ingushetia, now home to about 3,000
  • 2 Karabulak   — city in the plains
  • 3 Malgobek   — an oilfield town now housing some 20,000 Chechen refugees
  • 4 Nazran   — largest city, main entry point and former capital, straddles the border with North Ossetia
  • 5 Sunzha — formerly known as stanitsa Orjonikidzevskaya - Largest rural locality in Russia

Other destinations edit

Ingushetia and the surrounding regions

To visit anywhere outside the main towns requires a Russian Federal Security Bureau permit, especially for foreigners.

  • 1 Armkhi   — a Soviet resort/sanatorium high in the mountains of southwestern Ingushetia
  • 2 Dariali   — a high aul in Ingushetia's beautiful Dzheyrakh Region
  • Guloykhi — a multi-towered Ingush aul in southern Ingushetia in the Assy Gorge
  • Targim — castle in the mountains
  • Erzi — castle in the mountains
  • Vovnushki — castle in the mountains
  • Historical and Cultural Jeyrakh-Assa Reservation — watch towers and Arm khe resort complex
  • Tkhaba-Yerdy Church — ancient Ingush Christian church
  • 3 Tsori   — castle in the mountains
  • Olgeti — mountain village

Understand edit

The Ingush are relatives of the Chechens and have shared their Sunni Islamic beliefs as well as their fate in rebellion and conquest vis-à-vis the Russians. In the beginning of the 19th century, a Chechen scholar peacefully converted most Ingush into Islam. Like the Chechens, the Ingush were accused by Stalin of Nazi collaboration and were deported to Kazakhstan. When Khrushchev allowed them to return home, they found that their Orthodox Christian neighbors, the Ossetes, had settled on formerly Ingush lands, launching a violent ethnic conflict which rages on today.

Around 1929-1991, Ingushetia was merged with Chechnya to form the Chechen-Ingush ASSR, and became separated. By 1991, the first Ingush president, Ruslan Aushev attempted to help the already weak economy, and when the first Chechen war started, this created a tremendous problem for the economy. It collapsed after Aushev's success. However, he was forced to leave office when the second Chechen war started. Aushev also founded the city of Magas.

By 2002, Murat Zyazikov came into office, and since then the political and economic situation has worsened, and Zyazikov received harsh criticism for his disregard for human rights, corruption, and social and political problems. This was because of alleged abductions, illegal beatings, unlawful arrests and killings of suspects by the federal forces and local police and allied paramilitaries. By 2008, a new president, Yunus-bek Yevkurov succeeded the unpopular Zyazikov and began a campaign into improving the situation in the region.

The poor situation in the republic has made it a magnet for terrorism for Chechen and Ingush rebels, and has continued to make it more uneasy for travelers to visit. The region is desperately poor, with only 5 in 10 people employed and a large part of the population living in severe poverty, earning less than US$2 a day.

Open warfare ended in 2015, and since then, a sense of normalcy has been gradually returning to the region. The region is slowly being rebuilt, but what lies ahead is anybody's guess.

Although the majority of Ingushetia's population lives in the larger northern towns, the Ingush consider their true heritage to be tied to the ancient auls (stone mountaintop villages) in the south of Ingushetia, especially along the Assy Gorge.

Get in edit

Citizens of foreign countries must have a special permit for visiting mountainous parts of Ingushetia. These permits are issued by the FSB office in Nazran or can be obtained online. Apply well in advance. Russian citizens do not need a permit anymore, but have to carry a passport.

By plane edit

Planes from Moscow (Vnukovo or Sheremetyevo airport) to Ingushetia Magas (airport near Ordzhonekidzovskaya).:

  • Morning flights by Pobeda (at 8:20) and UTair (at 09:40)
  • Afternoon flight by Aeroflot (14:55).

Alternative routes: Beslan airport in North Ossetia and Grozny airport in Chechnya.

By train edit

A couple of trains per week connect Moscow's Kazanskiy Station with Nazran (40 hr).

As of August 2018, Train 146Э leaves Moscow Kazanskiy on even days at 23:16, arriving in Nazran at 06:55 (31 hr 39 min). Train 145С departs Nazran on the same day 146Э arrives on at 23:22, arriving in Moscow at 06:07 (30 hr 45 min).

By bus edit

A daily bus leaves from Moscow (Paveletski or Kazanski railway station) to Nazran (total trip time over 24 hours). A daily bus leaves from Grozny,Nalchik and Stavropol. Regular buses leaves from Moscow. A small buses leaves from Nalchik and other north Caucasian and south Russian cities (e.g., to Vladikavkaz).

Get around edit

Taxi, buses.

Talk edit

Ingush is the main language, and an official language in the republic. Ingush is commonly known as ГІалгІай мотт (Ğalğaj mott). Ingush is a language related to Chechen and other regional languages are common.

Russian is spoken natively by only about 1% of Ingushetia's population, but almost everyone speaks it as a second language, do you should have no problem getting by.

English is spoken by almost nobody, even in the largest city, Nazran.

Buy edit

Euros and US dollars are accepted and can be exchanged for rubles. ATMs are widely available even in Dzheirakh village. Best place to buy: Central Market in Nazran.

Costs are generally higher than in much of Russia and are comparable to those in Moscow.

Eat edit

  • "Assa" — restaurant,located in Nazran
  • "Vstrecha"

Drink edit

Due to rising anti-Russian sentiment, the shops selling alcohol are prime targets for Muslim extremists. It is recommended that tourists stay away from these shops. The attacks are frequent, though usually without harm to the shoppers.

Sleep edit

"Assa" Hotel in Nazran

Learn edit

  • Ingush State University

Work edit

There is at least 50% unemployment in Ingushetia. The oil industry is slowly deteriorating. The best places for a foreigner to work are international human relief organizations and medicine.

Stay safe edit

In Ingushetia, since the end of the Second Chechen war (1999-2009), there have been no more fighting, but there are not infrequent few actions of the few surviving militants, who are often immediately neutralized by local law enforcement agencies here. Therefore, there is nothing much to fear.

Now the entire territory of Ingushetia, as well as the territory of neighboring Chechnya, is completely open to foreigners, but when entering this republic, all cars and their passengers pass police posts. If you, being foreigners, enter Ingushetia by car or bus from neighboring regions (for example, from North Ossetia or Chechnya), they will definitely ask the purpose of the trip. If they hear the desired answer “tourism”, then they quietly skip it. With particular suspicion, local police and FSB agents look at foreigners from Muslim-majority countries, and in general to all foreigners (regardless of citizenship) who have an Islamic name and/or surname. Because they are afraid that you could come here to join the militants hiding in the mountains and forests. All vehicles will be searched for suspicious and prohibited items (drugs, explosives, large amounts of money, a large amount of alcohol and cigarettes, they can rummage through your phone in search of suspicious activity or the presence of pornography).

Be prepared that you, as a foreigner, will be under the covert surveillance of FSB (Federal Security Service) agents and informants. For more peace of mind, it is recommended to hire a local guide here, although in Ingushetia no attacks on foreigners by rebels have been recorded in the last decade.

In Ingushetia, women are inviolable for men. If you are a man, then try not to communicate at all with local unfamiliar women (especially with young girls and women) unless absolutely necessary. In terms of conservatism and universal freedoms, the situation here in Ingushetia is much milder than in neighboring Chechnya, but at times more conservative than in Dagestan, or in neighboring North Ossetia, Stavropol Krai or Kabardino-Balkaria.

Stay healthy edit

Do not drink tap water. The Coca-Cola and Pepsi products can be fake, and unhealthy. Use the water from wells such as one of the good ones near the village of Barsuki on the road.

Respect edit

Ingushetia is a conservative Islamic society, with a traditional code of honour incorporating both Islamic and Vainakh influences. As such, visitors should dress conservatively; shorts or short skirts should be avoided, skirts should be at least knee length, and your upper body wear should cover your shoulders and midriff. It is also considered obscene to wear sandals in public, so make sure you only wear covered shoes. However, non-Muslim women are not required to wear a hijab.

In general, locals are interested in getting to know foreigners better, and, as a rule, are useful to visitors of this troubled region. So long as you respect the local customs and take care to avoid insulting anybody's honour, the Ingush will treat you as an honoured guest because of a strong culture of traditional Islamic hospitality. Always keep political opinions to yourself to avoid any danger.

The Ingushs believe and are proud that they are a freer and more democratic people than the Chechens, and consider their republic to be many times freer than neighboring Chechnya. Indeed, the sole dictatorship of one person is not established here, and the head of the republic changes from time to time, and it won't be difficult to buy alcohol.

Relations between Ingushs and Ossetians are very strained. Try not to touch on this topic, or, for example, praise neighboring North Ossetia in front of the Ingush. The topic of Ingushetia's borders is also sensitive here, since the Ingush claim part of the territory of North Ossetia, and the Chechnya claim most of Ingushetia itself.

Avoid bringing up the Stalin years, as virtually the entire Ingush population was deported to Central Asia in 1944, and almost everyone has lost family members in the forced deportations. It was not until 1957, after Stalin's death, that the survivors were allowed to return.

Connect edit

Mobile edit

In Ingushetia there are three federal GSM operators (MTS, Beeline, Megafon) and they often have offers that give you a SIM card for free or at least very cheap. If you are planning to stay a while and to keep in touch with Ingushetian and other North-Caucasus people, then you should consider buying a local SIM card instead of going on roaming. To buy a SIM card from a shop you'll need your passport for identification. It only takes five minutes to do the paperwork and it will cost less than US$10.

This region travel guide to Ingushetia is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!