Sunday, April 28, 2019

Yevkurov Offers Prisoner Release if Opposition Refrains from Protests for Four Months

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 27 – Moscow human rights activists say that Yunus-Bek Yevkurov has told them that he is prepared to release the imprisoned opposition figures he holds if the Ingush opposition for its part agrees to refrain from organizing any mass demonstrations until September (

            This is the upshot of a meeting Svetlana Gannushkina, Tatyana Lokshina, Oleg Orlov, Aleksandr Cherkasov, and Valery Borshchev had with the Ingush leader following their earlier session with the Union of Ingush Teips and other opposition figures and represents an effort by Yevkurov to win time by defusing the situation.

            In reporting this offer, Moscow commentator Ilya Milshteyn says it also “remains unclear” just how Yevkurov will be able to influence the courts and meet such a commitment, especially given that some detainees are now charged with serious crimes and some have already been convinced (

            The opposition is divided. Its members who include most of the Ingush population have both a maximum program and a minimum program. The maximum one involves annulling the border accord with Chechnya, dismissing Yevkurov and holding direct popular elections for a new republic head.

            “The minimum program is more modest,” he says. It includes freeing the political prisoners. Some in the opposition may be willing to agree to this as a confidence-building measure but others are certain to view it as an effort by Yevkurov to buy time and possibly launch new attacks against them.

            Meanwhile, the Ingush National Community, on the 28th anniversary of the Russian law on rehabilitating repressed peoples, issued a public declaration calling on Moscow to ensure the fulfillment of all the provisions of that law (

                With respect to the Ingush people, the declaration says, “the majority of the provisions of this law remain only on paper.” The situation in fact has become worse because of “the criminal, traitorous policy of the executive and legislative powers” of the republic and of “Mr. Yevkurov personally,” who has pledged to defend the republic but has consistently violated that pledge.

            In particular, the declaration calls for the return to Ingushetia of the Prigorodny district and an end to the systematic destruction of Ingush statehood. And further, it says that “we demand the freeing of our political prisoners who sit in jails only because they were brave enough to act on the basis of rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Russian Constitution.”

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