Staunton, January 23 – Aleksandr Matvonikov lost his job as presidential plenipotentiary in the North Caucasus because he could not keep the situation in Ingushetia under control or significantly reduce corruption or radicalism elsewhere, regional experts say. But they predict that incoming Moscow representative Yury Chaika will have no more success.
At the same time, they say, he may launch more anti-corruption cases given his legal background and he may focus more on counter-terrorism than did Matovnikov both to establish his bona fides with the siloviki and to ensure that none of the republics descends into violence anytime soon.
They also suggest that Moscow’s unhappiness with Matovnikov has been signaled by the fact that the ex-presidential plenipotentiary has been given a lower position in the Russian defense ministry than was the former head of Ingushetia, Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, after he left Magas (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/345015/).
Yekaterina Kolesnikova, a social technologist, says that in her view Chaika will not improve things in Ingushetia but he certainly will focus more on counter-terrorism efforts there and elsewhere. She also rejects the idea that Matovnikov lost his job because of Kadyrov’s objections (fortanga.org/2020/01/ekaterina-kolesnikova-posle-otstavki-evkurova-matovnikov-prosto-zhdal-svoego-chasa/).
Izabella Yevloyeva of the Fortanga portal concurs, although she points out that Matovnikov too was sent to fight corruption and militant groups. And she suggests that Moscow was unhappy with him because of his failures in those two areas as well (fortanga.org/2020/01/matovnikov-ushel-v-otstavku-chekist-ne-spravilsya/).
But political analyst Aleksandr Skakov argues that Matovnikov’s greatest failure, at least from Moscow’s point of view, was his inability to shepherd through an agreement on the Chechen-Daghestani border, something Moscow very much wanted but that he couldn’t deliver, ultimately being forced to put it on hold (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/344978/).
Meanwhile, there were two other Ingushetia developments of note. A Stavropol court sentenced Magomed Ozdoyev to 16 months behind bars for allegedly attacking officials in last March’s protest. Because of time served, he will be released on February 20 (doshdu.com/ingushskij-aktivist-prigovoren-k-16-mesjacam-lishenija-svobody/ and kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/345032/