Sunday, December 29, 2019

Eight Ingush Protest Leaders Accused of Being Part of an Extremist Group, Now Face Serious Jail Time

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 28 – Three Ingush protest leaders – Akhmed Barakhoyev, Musa Malsagov and Malsav Uzhakhov – have been charged with organizing an extremist group; and five more – Barakh Chemurziyev, Zarifa Sautiyeva, Ahmed Pogorov, Bagaudin Khautiyev and Ismail Nalgiyev – have been accused of being part of it.

            These charges carry serious jail time – six to ten years in the case of the first three -- and up to six years in the case of the other five. They undoubtedly are intended to intimidate both these eight and the more than 25 other Ingush activists now in detention to plead guilty to lesser charges in the hopes of being released sooner. 

            And they are also intended to send messages to Ingush society more generally and to others in the Russian Federation. To the Ingush, this is the clearest signal yet that the powers that be have no intention of backing down from their repressive position. To others in that country, it is a sign that the kind of civic activism the Ingush have displayed will be treated as extremism.

            Ingush are outraged especially because many of the eight are elderly and in ill health and because one of the eight, Sautiyeva, is the only woman among the detainees and much beloved by Ingush society for her work to preserve the memory of those Ingush Stalin deported.  And lawyers say the powers are doing everything they can to block defense efforts.

            Meanwhile, there were three other developments involving the Ingush opposition that will only exacerbate tensions in the republic. First, Khasan Zyazikov, who was charged with taking part in protests, not only confessed but added he had nothing against the leadership of  the republic and did not recognize the authority of the opposition (

            Second, in an indication of just how  much Ingushetia is a target for Moscow’s repressions, Anton Chablin reported that of the 12 public organizations the Russian justice ministry had identified as foreign agents in 2019, four – or one out of every three – was based in the small Ingush Republic (

            And third, it has become obvious that the Kremlin will say nothing to rein in Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov who continues to make claims against Ingush territory. It was his deal with Yunus-Bek Yevkurov in September 2018 that sparked the protests by Ingush since that time (

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