Staunton, August 7 – Following an all too typical usual script, the FSB today announced it had killed a militant in the village of Voznesenskoye in Ingushetia who had been trying to recruit people to go to Syria to fight for ISIS and then declared a counter-terrorism operation zone in the area (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/338815/ and kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/338813/).
This is the first such operation in 2019; and while militants likely are to be found in Ingushetia as elsewhere in the North Caucasus, many Ingush are skeptical and believe the FSB may have carried out this operation either because Moscow wanted to distract attention from protests or local FSB personnel concluded this would be good for their careers.
In a commentary entitled “The FSB has Decided to Vary the Information Agenda in the Republic,” the independent Zamanho news agency reports what the authorities are saying but says there is “a problem in that the information about the shooting in the Ingush village comes only from the side of the killers,” i.e., the FSB (zamanho.com/?p=11487).
The FSB has not offered any evidence for its claims, Zamanho continues, and there is no indication it tried to take the supposed terrorist alive. “Branches of the FSB of Russia in the Caucasus long ago lost any trust, and its ability to conduct investigations has degenerated. At present, we are dealing with a punitive apparatus which kills people for the sake of personal ambitions and career growth.”
“We must not be satisfied with the wordy and often false declarations of the Russian FFSB when they concern Ingush, Caucasians and people in general. We must jointly demand and fight for every innocently condemned and murdered individual. Yes, in Putin’s Russia, this is difficult, but there is always a way out and let us seek it.”
“Otherwise,” Zamanho says, “the military will kill us because of their own internal problems and interests.”
Meanwhile, 27 Ingush activists arrested after the March 26 protests have issued a public appeal to Makhut-Ali Kalimatov to free Zarifa Sautiyeva (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/338827/). That appeal has been echoed by the Ingush community in Moscow whose leaders make an intriguing argument (ortanga.org/2019/08/obrashhenie-k-vrio-kalimatovu-ot-moskovskoj-obshhiny-ingushej/).
In a second appeal, they point out that Vladimir Putin reversed the arrest of Ivan Golunov after it was established that the journalist had been detained on the basis of falsified evidence and suggest that Kalimatov can do no less in the case of Sautiyeva and the others if he is to retain the respect of the Ingush people.
Finally, there is sad news about the girl who was beaten and then taken to Moscow for an operation. Today, despite their earlier expression of hope, doctors there said that they have had to amputate her right hand. She remains in hospital in the Russian capital. Her siblings are in foster homes (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/338833/).