Monday, January 20, 2020

No Progress Yet in Identifying Those Behind Arson of Memorial Office in Ingushetia Two Years Ago

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 18 – Despite promises by officials in Moscow and Magas that they would work to identify quickly those behind the the firebombing of the Memorial Human Rights office in Ingushetia, their unwillingness to consider that it was part of a larger terrorist action directed against Daghestan and Chechnya as well has blocked progress over the last two years. 

            On January 17, 2018, persons unknown set the Memorial office in Magas on fire. Human rights activists immediately called this a terrorist action, although Russian officials have been reluctant to do so, suggested it was linked to acts at the same time in neighboring republics, and demanded the authorities solve the crime quickly (

            Moscow’s human rights ombudsman denounced the crime, and Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, then head of Ingushetia, said he was taking personal control of the case to ensure that it was wrapped up quickly.  But nothing has happened in part because Russian officials have not treated it as a terrorist incident or been willing to consider links between this crime and others.

            Over the past two years, “much has changed” in Ingushetia, Ekho Kavkaza reports.  The man charged in a similar crime then in Daghestan has been released. Yevkurov has resigned. And Memorial, despite the massive fines Russian courts have imposed on it as “a foreign agent,” has resumed work in the republic.

            Meanwhile, now that eight Ingush opposition leaders have been accused by Russian prosecutors of being part of an extremist organization, Memorial and other human rights organizations say they will take the case all the way to the European Court for Human Rights unless such charges are dropped (

            And in another development that puts additional pressure on current Ingush head Makhmud-Ali Kalimatov, yet another group has called for him to reappoint the current justices of the republic supreme court. The latest to do so is the non-governmental Institute for Economics and Law (

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