Saturday, July 20, 2019

New Ingush Head’s Reputation Rests on Outcome of Sautiyeva Case, Experts Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 16 – Yesterday, a Magas court ordered Zarifa Sautiyeva to be detained until September 11 when there will be a hearing about her, an action her lawyers said was unjustified, that 300 people came to protests, and that local experts say may do more than almost anything to sink the reputation of Makhmud-Ali Kalimatov, the new head of  Ingushetia.

            The reason for that is simple: “Not once in the entire modern  history of the republic has any Ingush woman been arrested for her civic position and for political reasons,” according to Popular Assembly deputy Ruslan Gagiyev, historian Makka Albogachiyeva, activist Pyatimat Yusupova, and political analyst Ruslan Martagov (

            Not only is Sautiyeva, a curator and activist, a woman but she was crudely and illegally treated by those who arrested her, armed men who refused to identify themselves but who, her lawyers say, came not from the republic itself but rather from Kabardino-Balkaria, possibly an indication that Ingush siloviki refused to be a part of this. 

            Sautiyeva declared in court that she had not organized attacks on the authorities as prosecutors allege. In fact, as a video of the events on the basis of which they have brought charges against her, she is heart shouting to other protesters: “Don’t throw chairs, idiots; keep yourselves in order.”  But prosecutors used that to draw exactly the opposite conclusion.

            Three Moscow experts with whom Kavkaz-Uzel spoke had slightly different takes on what the Sautiyeva case means.  Aleksey Malashenko, a specialist on the region at the Moscow Institute for Civilizational Dialogue says that the case against her is the work of the siloviki rather than a decision by Kalimatov.

            It began before he was appointed, and he almost certainly would be in a better position if it hadn’t been. But at the same time, as a former prosecutor, the new republic head will probably be unwilling to intervene in a case once it has gone to court, Malashenko suggests.  If he is going to intervene, Kalimatov will do so later in the process.

            Konstantin Kazenin, a specialist at the Russian Academy of Economics and State Service agrees. But Sergey Zhavoronkov of the Moscow Institute for Economic Policy, however, is certain that all the decisions in the Sautiyeva case have been made by Kalimatov personally. The siloviki in his republic are not acting on their own. 

            Meanwhile, in another high-profile case, a Magas court ordered that Rashid Maysigov, editor of the Fortanga portal, be held for two months while authorities investigate charges that he had drugs in his possession. His lawyers say there is no basis for these charges and that they will appeal (

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