Staunton, November 24 – Many in the North Caucasus and in Russia as a whole were surprised that Yunus-Bek Yevkurov allowed protests against his border accord with Chechnya to go on for two weeks without a crackdown of any kind, especially given the authoritarian nature of regimes in the North Caucasus republics, Alena Sadovskaya says.
But the Radio Liberty commentator notes that the Ingush head has now become true to type, deploying the courts and other agencies against his opponents, albeit after a delay of more than a month when it seemed to some that he was simply going to let the protesters off completely (kavkazr.com/a/yevkurov-vzyalsya-za-repressii/29616881.html).
“We knew that this would happen,” Magomet Mutsolgov, one of the protest leaders, says. Yevkurov, “instead of correcting his mistake and the violations of the law which he made is beginning repressions” in order to impose his will. He is now ready to use the force he didn’t earlier – and all the repressive moves by courts and others are at his order.
There are many reasons why the Ingush head may have finally decided on this course, but quite likely the most important of them is a signal from Moscow that unless he takes control, he will find his subsidies from the center reduced. An article in Daghestan’s Nashe delo suggests what that message probably looked like (ndelo.ru/ekonomika/stabilnost-poryadok-dotacii).
“In exchange for stability, the republic will get additional tranches from Moscow,” the publication said. If there isn’t stability, then these will likely be cut. The more the leader of a republic shows himself able to keep everyone in line, therefore, the more he and his republic are likely to get. Those who don’t maintain order will find their subsidies cut back.
Nashe delo is talking about Daghestan; but its argument with respect to the leadership there is almost certainly the same one Moscow is making with Yevkurov – and given the poverty of Ingushetia where one in every four people is unemployed – the republic head is not going to be taking any chances.
That in turn means, of course, that the person ultimately responsible for the crackdown against dissent and protest in Ingushetia is not Yevkurov but Vladimir Putin, his boss in Moscow. To the extent Ingush protesters come to understand that, such a shift could make the protests there far more dangerous.
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