Staunton, May 1 – In a move that the Ingush opposition will see as boding no good for the future, Vladimir Putin today signed a decree removing Dmitry Kava as minister of internal affairs in Ingushetia and another replacing him in an acting capacity Yury Murayev, Kava had asked to be replaced after he refused to order his police to disperse demonstrators on March 26 (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/334997/ and zamanho.com/?p=7141).
When Kava announced his plans to retire, Ingush opposition figures expressed their support for him because of his professionalism and unwillingness to use force against those who were exercising their constitutional rights to protest (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/333734/). They urged that he be retained.
But with his ouster, there is every likelihood that Yunus-Bek Yevkurov will step up his repression of the opposition, especially since the public way in which Putin was involved signals to him and to his opponents that Moscow backs what he has been doing and won’t tolerate any refusal by police to use force against demonstrators.
It is also indicative of where Moscow is as far as the Ingush crisis is concerned that this is Putin’s most direct intervention in the situation, again something that sends a message not only to Ingushetia but also to populations and police elsewhere in the Russian Federation – especially as it occurs when police used force on May Day around the country (zamanho.com/?p=7138).