Tuesday, February 11, 2020

New Wave of Repression in Ingushetia Reflects Officials’ Fear of New Round of Mass Protests

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 5 – Over the last two days, dozens of armed siloviki have swept through Ingushetia and North Ossetia raiding the homes of suspected opposition figures and arresting at least a dozen people known to be against the land deal with Chechnya (zamanho.com/?p=16518  and currenttime.tv/a/ingushetia-zaderjali-12-aktivistov/30417810.html).

            Most of those detained were questioned and released but some are still under arrest and may face charges, an indication that Makhmud-Ali Kalimatov’s suggestion that he is overseeing the moves against dissenters does not necessarily promise that the situation will be better. Indeed, some say these arrests as well as moves against First Aid will lead to new mass protests.

            Akhmed Buzurtanov, a commentator for Portal Six, says explicitly that the official attacks on that organization which tries to help those detained and their families are “a prelude to a new wave of political repressions in Ingushetia” that the powers have launched out of fear of new protests (6portal.ru/posts/неотложка-прелюдия-к-новой-волне-по/#more-998).

                He says that “the siloviki have achieved definite success and have shifted the protest from a state of active demands to a state of defensive reaction. Attempts to continue the protest in the former format have been harshly blocked … [And] as a result, instead of centralized and mass actions, protest has been transformed into autonomous projects of various forms.”

            Among the most important of the latter is First Aid which “at present is the brightest project which as a result of banal routine has been transformed into something massive and popular,” a development that the authorities do not want to tolerate and so are now trying to suppress.

            A major reason for the siloviki actions now is the fear among the powers that two upcoming anniversaries, the deportation of the Ingush on February 23 and the mass protests last March 27-28, will become occasions for new large-scale demonstrations as will the announcement in the coming weeks of sentences of protest leaders.

            Meanwhile, Adam Badiyev, who took part in last March’s protest said in court that he was not hostile to the head of Ingushetia but simply wanted to defend other participants in the protest from attacks by the siloviki (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/345554/).

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