Monday, July 22, 2019

Putin’s Plenipotentiary in North Caucasus Architect of Repression in Ingushetia, Lyanov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 20 – In a 13-minute YouTube video clip that has gone viral among Ingush, Ibragim Lyanov, president of the European Association of Ingush, says that Russian Maj. Gen. Aleksandr Matovnikov, Vladimir Putin’s plenipotentiary representative for the North Caucasus Federal District since last summer, is the architect of the ongoing repression in Ingushetia ( and

            Ingush opposition figures have often criticized Putin for backing up what they see as former republic head Yunus-Bek Yevkurov’s crackdown, but this marks an escalation of criticism of the Kremlin leader whose representative for the region, rather than the hated Yevkkurov, is now being fingered as the chief culprit.

            Lyanov’s argument is certainly plausible: Only someone like Matovnikov could deploy the interior ministry and counter-terrorism forces that have been used in Ingushetia and only he or someone like him could open the way for Magas to dispatch arrested opposition figures to the jails of neighboring North Caucasus republics.

            But at the same time, the Ingush activist’s allegation is far from necessarily the case: In fact, the Kremlin could have directed the entire operation and approved the repression Yevkurov wanted, thus giving the former republic head the power to do what has been done. In that case, Matovnikov would have been an assistant rather than an architect.

            Meanwhile, there were three moves on the Ingush legal front. First, Ingush inmates in the Nalchik isolator ended their hunger strike to protest the beating of Bagaudin Myakiyeva, a member of the Union of Teips of the Ingush People, after they were received by prison officials (

            Second, Ingush prosecutors laid out their case against Zarifa Sautiyeva, the curator activist whose arrest, the first of a woman in this sequence of repression, has attracted so much attention and generated so much anger. Her lawyers say the authorities’ case is anything but compelling (

            And third, the BBC featured a long program on the trial of six Ingush police officials involved with the Center for the Countering Extremism for torturing people to extract confessions and in one case killing someone under detention. It makes for chilling reading ( and

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