Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Yevkurov and Moscow Now Using Foreign Agents Law to Go After Opponents

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 21 – The Ingush authorities, together with their colleagues from Moscow, have raided various non-governmental organizations in Ingushetia and not found evidence that they can use against them. As a result, Magomed Mutsolgov, the head of one of them, says the authorities are now charging such groups with being “foreign agents.”

            That represents another increase in political repression in Ingushetia and underscores the way in which Moscow and Magas are abusing such laws in order to repress the population, the MASHR head says, noting that his group has become one of a long line of Ingush NGOs so targeted (

            According to Mutsolgov, the Ingush leadership came up with this idea in the wake of mass protests against the border change agreement last October but only began to use it in dragnet-fashion after efforts to gather evidence against Yevkurov’s opponents fell short. Now, it appears, this is where the next wave of repression is going to occur.

            In his blog post, the MASHR leader provides details on the groups the regimes have gone after, including a chronology that shows how the decision to move against organizations after the arrests of individuals failed to contain protest attitudes in the republic. Clearly, the government now recognizes that it is opposed not by individuals but by almost the entire population.

            The most serious consequence of such moves, however, may be very different than what the authorities imagine. Destroying NGOs may slow the mobilization of people for a time, but as the Ingush have shown in the past, if they cannot work through established channels, they will create new ones.

            So far, they have remained committed to legal action. But if the authorities keep up their pressure, it is likely that at least some will become committed to more radical measures, especially if the restraining influence of leaders now under arrest and organizations now banned or marginalized is reduced. 

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