Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Pickets Rotate in Front of Putin’s Office to Call Attention to Plight of Ingush Political Prisoners

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 11 – Elizaveta Aleksandrova-Zorina and her Moscow colleagues have come up with a new variant of the individual protest to call attention to the plight of political prisoners in Ingushetia: Each has stood up for ten minutes or so and then been replaced by another making it possible to involve more activists and call more attention to the cause.

            That tactic was on view yesterday in front of the offices of Vladimir Putin as one activist replaced another for almost four hours. Aleksandrova-Zorina said that passersby asked many questions (fortanga.org/2020/01/elizaveta-aleksandrova-zorina-rossiya-vsegda-byla-nespravedliva-k-ingushetii-v-moskve-proshli-pikety-v-podderzhku-aktivistov/ and kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/344524/).

            The activist, who has staged individual protests on behalf of the Ingush over the last several months, says she is angry that so few people talk about what is going on in Ingushetia not only in Russia but internationally. She says that she has written articles about the Ingush but so far has not found a publisher in any Western outlet.

            “A year ago,” Aleksandrova-Zorina said, “I was not certain that pickets could change anything … Now I am certain that everything has importance: pickets and letters to hostages and the work of lawyers and participation in the lives of relatives suffering from repression and even a simple but sincere word of truth. Each of these things can be useful.”

            “The goal of the picket,” she says, is not just to protest the fate of the Ingush prisoners but to spark a public discussion in Russia about what is going on there and elsewhere.  “I suffer for those who are behind bars, for all Ingushetia, and I want to change something. Russia always was especially unjust to Ingushetia. I am ashamed about that and want to correct it.”

            Meanwhile, there were three other developments worthy of note. First, the authorities did not release two prisoners, Eliskhan Azhigov and Musa Aliyeva, when they completed their sentences, raising questions about their fates (doshdu.com/dvuh-ingushskih-aktivistov-derzhat-v-sizo-nesmotrja-na-istechenie-sroka-nakazanija/ and kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/344528/).

            Second, the Ingush regional section of the Association of Lawyers of Russia has added its voice to calls for Makhmud-Ali Kalimatov to reappoint the current members of the republic Supreme Court who have shown more independent-mindedness than other officials (fortanga.org/2020/01/regionalnoe-otdelenie-assotsiatsii-yuristov-rossii-podderzhivaet-pereizbranie-dejstvuyushhego-sostava-ks-ri/).

            And third, in what may prove to be an especially important development for the future of the Ingush nation, Ingush are flocking to theaters to see the first ever Ingush feature film about the history of their people at the beginning of the last century, Saiti-Son of Zouli (etokavkaz.ru/kultura/ingushskoe-kino-gortcy-vozmezdie-i-dakhchan-pandar).

            What makes this film special is that “everything in this film is Ingush: the director, the actors, the language, the decorations and the subject,” something that Ingush have never had the chance to see before and can take particular pride in now. 

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