Staunton, March 23 – Just when one imagines that Russian officials cannot descend any further, they violate the first law of holes and keep digging: Russian jailors have now placed two Ingush detainees, Musa Malsagov and Barakh Chemurziyev, in a cell with a suspected coronavirus carrier.
Lawyers for the two are concerned about the conditions under which they are being held, conditions that threaten the health and even lives of the two Ingush opposition leaders. The attorneys have filed an appeal (fortanga.org/2020/03/chemurzieva-i-malsagova-pomestili-v-odnu-kameru-s-bolnymi-u-kotoryh-zapodozrili-koronavirus/).
In a related development and fearful that Ingush detainees and other prisoners may be exposed to the potentially deadly virus, Magomed Mutsolgov, head of the MASHR Human Rights group, called on the plenipotentiary for the North Caucasus and the head of Ingushetia to release all non-violent prisoners lest the infection spread inside jails (kavkaz-uzel.eu/blogs/342/posts/42342).
That is what other governments are doing, he said, adding that such a humane move would go a long way to overcoming the divisions within Ingush society and between it and Moscow. Unfortunately, Mutsolgov said, it appears that the Russian powers that be are moving in exactly the opposite direction, putting even more lives at risk.
Meanwhile, lawyers for Malsag Uzhakhov, the head of the Council of Teips of the Ingush People, appealed the extension of his detention arguing that the courts had ignored evidence and misapplied that which was presented to continue to hold him behind bars. There is no basis for the court’s action, they said (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/347426/).
And in an interview with the Prague-based Caucasus Times, Oleg Orlov of Moscow’s Memorial human rights organization, says that the March 2019 demonstration in Ingushetia and its suppression was a provocation organized by the powers that be in order to suppress dissent (caucasustimes.com/ru/oleg-orlov-ob-ingushskom-precedente-i-ego-posledstvijah/).
The order to arrest the demonstrators was issued in Moscow not by Yunus-Bek Yevkurov and it was implemented by Russian Guards units brought in from other republics who had no idea what was going on in Ingushetia, Orlov continues. Since then, the authorities have done everything they can to “fabricate cases” against the detainees.
Yevkurov by the end of his tenure had no power at all, the Memorial official says. Moscow was running everything through others. He finally left when he could not stand that anymore. The opposition failed to see this and assumed that after Yevkurov, they would get someone better. Instead, they got a faceless and humorless bureaucrat.
He isn’t a politician and won’t meet with the people. And thus he has no authority. According to Orlov, he is a temporary figure. In another comment, Orlov says that recombining Ingushetia and Chechnya is unlikely to happen because it would lead to disasters that would harm everyone involved.