Saturday, August 24, 2019

Ingush Police Charged with Disobeying Orders to Disperse Protesters Will Fight Charges

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 22 – Reports last March that a group of Ingush policemen had refused to obey orders to use force to disperse demonstrators in Magas inspired the Ingush people to conclude the Yevkurov government was coming apart, especially when the authorities appeared to confirm the story by firing 17 policemen and disbanding the unit of which they were a part. 

            But the story was always more murky than that, and now the 13 policemen who face charges of disobeying orders are contesting the charges, saying that they tried to disperse the crowd but did not use force (

            Their lawyer, Magomed Kuriyev, says that the men who could be sentenced to as much as five years in prison have a video tape confirming their version of events as well as witnesses who are prepared to testify on their behalf. He adds that the government has not yet produced any evidence for its charges against the men.

            On the one hand, if the policemen are able to show that they did not disobey orders, that will effectively destroy the notion, widespread in Ingushetia, that the local police are in fact on the side of the people. But on the other, their trial will exacerbate tensions because it will suggest that the authorities in Moscow if not in Magas wanted to uses violence against the demonstrators.

            Meanwhile, the Ingush section of the Yabloko Party stepped up its efforts to organize a boycott of the September 8 local and regional elections in the republic. Party leaders are giving three reasons for this action: the suppression of Ingush protests about the border change, the failure of authorities to register opposition candidates, and their certainty the results will be falsified (

            “We do not want to participate in this farce,” the party says. 

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