Staunton, November 23 – The protests that have roiled Ingushetia over the last year were triggered by former republic head Yunus-Bek Yevkurov’s handing over of 26,000 hectares of Ingush land to Chechnya, an act that infuriated the Ingush people whose republic has already lost so much territory that it is the smallest federal subject (other than the two capitals).
But what exacerbated their anger was Yevkurov’s arrangement to have the republic Popular Assembly approve the deal with Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov, an approval that many were certain was the result of falsification and thus undermined still further the republic head’s standing with the population.
Now, as a result of a court case against three deputies, more evidence has surfaced confirming the suspicions of the Ingush protesters that the reported approval was the result of the falsification of actual voting in the Popular Assembly, evidence that will certainly intensify anger
at Magas and inform new protests in the future.
In the evidence that has been presented – and the Fortanga news portal produces photographs – several of the signatures of deputies have been shown to be forgeries and thus null and void (fortanga.org/2019/11/advokat-magomed-bekov-vylozhil-dokumenty-svidetelstvuyushhie-o-falsifikatsii-itogov-golosovaniya-po-soglasheniyu-ob-ustanovlenii-granits/).
Meanwhile, as commentator Anton Chablin points out on Portal Six, the current head of the republic, Makhmud-Ali Kalimatov “continues to distance himself from ‘the Magas case,’” ignoring appeals from those falsely imprisoned and the fact that a similar attitude coast his predecessor his job (6portal.ru/posts/политические-узники-ингушетии-что-си/).
“Apparently,” the regional specialist says, “in the luxurious Magas palaces built specially for bureaucrats, they do not understand the level of the consolidation of Ingush society which has occurred since the March events.” The people have united around those the regime continues to hold and mistreat, collecting goods and funds for them and their needs.
And the decision of Moscow and Magas to send these prisoners of conscience far beyond the borders of the republic for trial may make it more difficult for their lawyers and supporters to show up. But it will do nothing to lessen the anger of the population; indeed, Chablin suggests, it will only intensify it further.
What is taking place with the Ingush prisoners, he continues, sets “a dangerous precedent. If Ingush society ‘swallows’ the violation of the Law by the courts, then tomorrow a similar tactic will be used in other regions – for example, in Kalmykia where the authorities are confronted by ever more actions of protest.”
“If in Ingushetia it proves easy to dispatch to torture chambers three dozen public leaders, why not do the same in Kalmykia – that is the logic of the dictatorship,” Chablin says.
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