Staunton, June 23 – Workers at the Ingush Memorial Complex for Victims of Political Repression say that an ally of republic head Yunus-Bek Yevkurov is seeking to destroy the complex because it helps keep alive memories of the deportation of the Vaynakhs and their subsequent suffering.
In this, the workers say, Yevkurov is following the shameful path of Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov who demolished an analogous monument in his republic lest it become a rallying point against him and his regime (zamanho.com/?p=9657, facebook.com/notes/мемориальный-комплекс/открытое-письмо/2636388189916130/ and fortanga.org/2019/06/kak-alihan-ozdoev-razrushaet-memorial-zhertvam-politicheskih-repressij/).
The destruction of the monument especially now will only further raise the political temperature in Ingushetia, already high because arrests continue, new charges keep being filed against those already detained, and the harassment of their relatives and supporters spreads (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/336898/, kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/336958/, mbk-news.appspot.com/news/v-ingushetii-arestovali-eshhe-odnogo-uchastnika-akcii-protiv-soglasheniya-o-granice-s-chechnej/ and https://doshdu.com/2019/06/22/сыну-депутата-парламента-ингушетии-п/).
Because the Yevkurov regime has arrested so many protest leaders already, has now deployed so much police force in the cities of Ingushetia, and shows itself ready to arrest anyone who engages in any kind of protest, Ingush who oppose his regime are seeking new means to register their anger.
The latest of these including writing letters to Vladimir Putin complaining about the repression in Ingushetia (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/336877/) and the holding of collective prayers in support of those now under arrest (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/336933/). Organizers say they will conduct such prayers as long as the innocent remain behind bars.
This may seem like a small thing, but it isn’t. What it represents is a repetition of what has happened elsewhere in the North Caucasus including most prominently in Chechnya since the first Russian war against Ichkeria. Initially, the Chechens were committed to secularism; but finding no support from outside, they increasingly turned to Islam and Islamic radicalism.
That provided Putin with the justification he sought for invading Chechnya a second time and largely avoiding criticism in the West for doing so. But what is has meant is that Chechnya today is far more Islamic and even Islamist than it was in the first years after 1991. And there is a great danger that Ingushetia may follow the same path for the same reasons.
The Ingush protests of the last year have been secular to a fault, but now, having had the secular leadership put behind bars, angry Ingush are turning to Islam. No doubt Yevkurov and his Kremlin backers will use this to justify further repression, but their actions and continuing outside neglect will mark another defeat for secular nationalism in the region.