Staunton, December 30 – Ingush officials are now playing the role of puppets whose strings are controlled by Moscow and the presidential plenipotentiary for the North Caucasus, a man who knows “absolutely nothing” about the region and appears to care less and thus has introduced “direct rule in Ingushetia,” Magomed Mutsolgov says.
The Ingush opposition figure and blogger says that “the regional and federal authorities in fact openly and publicly declare that nothing depends on the people, that citizens have no constitutional right, that the powers intend to carry out any repressive acts and in fact crimes to limit the participation of people” in political life (kavkaz-uzel.eu/blogs/342/posts/41119).
To this end, Mutsolgov continues, they have “decided to transfer the power in their own hands to relatives and friends and show us that they are boyars and will punish the people … without regard to the law because they are the powers and our land now belongs too them.” Two developments provide support for his conclusion.
On the one hand, the Fortanga news agency reports, citing sources near the Kremlin, that Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and North Caucasus presidential plenipotentiary Aleksandr Matovnikov have intervened to lengthen the detentions of Ingush protesters now being held behind bars (fortanga.org/2019/12/istochnik-matovnikov-i-kadyrov-okazyvayut-davlenie-na-sledstvie-v-otnoshenii-aktivistov/).
It is they who have orchestrated the transfer of Ingush prisoners out of their own republic and among the federal subjects of the North Caucasus, the Kremlin source says. And the news agency adds that as this becomes widely known, it is certain to exacerbate feelings among the Ingush against both Moscow and Chechnya.
And on the other, Elberd Sagov, a commentator for the independent Portal Six, says that republic head Makhmud-Ali Kalimatov now stands before a choice which will determine whether he survives as head of the Ingush Republic or is reduced to the status of a Russian cipher and will ultimately have to flee (6portal.ru/posts/махмуд-али-калиматов-перед-историчес/).
The issue is whether Kalimatov will reappoint the members of the republic’s Constitutional Court who stood up too his predecessor Yunus-Bek Yevkurov and declared his September 2018 land agreement with Chechnya illegal or he will replace them with those who will do whatever he is ordered to do by Moscow.
If he reappoints the judges, then two of the three branches of the Ingush government – the legislative and the judicial – will nominally remain in Ingush hands although the legislature has been reduced to “a fiction;” if he doesn’t, then the republic will be run by an executive who serves only Moscow’s interests, Sagov says.
If that proves to be the case, the commentator continues, then “one should not be surprised with time some other aspirants too the role of expressor of the interests of the Ingush people will emerge – and the Council of Teips would not be the worst possibility,” Sagov says. That would create an alternative power and a revolutionary situation.
(The Council of Teips which the Ingush authorities have sought to ban but which continues to function has called on Kalimatov to reappoint the current members of the court (fortanga.org/2019/12/sovet-tejpov-obratilsya-k-kalimatovu-pereizbrat-sostav-konstitutsionnogo-suda-ingushetii-na-novyj-srok/).)
These issues were overshadowed by a deadly clash between two teips over ownership of land in Sunzhe. One person died, six are in hospital with wounds, one teip has apologized but its apology has not been accepted, and the police have arrested a suspect (doshdu.com/v-ingushetii-v-perestrelke-mezhdu-tejpami-pogib-odin-i-raneno-shest-chelovek/, kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/344154/, kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/344146/ and kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/344142/).
Meanwhile, a Stavropol court has refused Zarifa Sautiyeva’s appeal against the extension of her detention until March 11. She took part in the session via video conference and said she now had no choice but to appeal to the European Court for Human Rights (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/344139/).