Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Ingush Protest Leaders Now Under Arrest or Underground, But Popular Anger is Growing, Akiyev Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 9 – An increasingly dangerous situation is emerging in Ingushetia. Yunus-Bek Yevkurov’s regime has placed under arrest more than 30 of the leaders of protests from last fall and earlier this spring and driven all the rest underground, but it has done nothing to address their complaints – and as a result, popular anger is growing, Radio Liberty’s Timur Akiyev says.

            That opens the door to more radical people who may not show the restraint and commitment to abiding by Russian and Ingush law that the leaders in the past have demonstrated throughout this period, especially as the Yevkurov regime and its Moscow backers have shown complete contempt for the law (ekhokavkaza.com/a/29988462.html).

                Arrests of protest leaders continue, and those who have fled the republic are now being put on the federal most wanted list.  “The Ingush opposition is seeking to continue the struggle, but evidently,” the journalist continues, “the forces in this conflict are too unequal.” Most leaders have been arrested and their detentions extended to September.  And the rest are underground.

            But the authorities’ proclivity for treating civil protesters as dangerous criminals and the experience of living underground either because there is already an order for arrest or there is the clear expectation that it will be given has consequences, especially if none of the issues the protesters raised earlier have been addressed by the authorities.

            Meanwhile, there have been two other developments concerning Ingushetia in the last 24 hours. On the one hand, the leaders of the Defense of Ingushetia organization have appealed to Boris Zumakulov, the human rights plenipotentiary in Kabardino-Balkaria, to help return Ingush prisoners to Ingushetia given that courts are open there (zamanho.com/?p=8761).

                And on the other, in expectation of a new wave of protests, the procuracy in one district of Ingushetia has issued statements and put out broadsides reminding Ingush residents that it is now an administrative offense to bring children to unsanctioned meetings and demonstrations (procing.ru/news/3067/).

            Given that many Ingush have large families and cannot take part in meetings without bringing their children with them, this may restrict the number of people who will take part in future protests. But it may also have the effect of sparking additional anger at the authorities in Magas and Moscow, given how transparent their political goals have become. 

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