Thursday, February 20, 2020

Under Pressure from Officials, Ingush ‘First Aid’ Assistance Group Shuts Down

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 13 – Boris Kodzoyev, the organizer of the volunteer group “First Aid” that provided assistance to Ingush prisoners and their families over the last seven months and thus encouragement to both that the Ingush people have not forgotten about them has been forced by the siloviki to shut down.

            Harassment by officials has made it impossible for the group to continue its operations, Kodzoyev says, adding that he will provide addresses and other information to teips who may be in a position to take some steps toward replacing what has been widely recognized as a valuable service (

            And in another move suggesting that the Ingush regime is both repressive and tone deaf, nationalities minister Ruslan Volkov has called for creating a new, government-funded muftiate that will include both Sufi and Salafi Muslims and said that February 23, the anniversary of the 1944 deportations of the Ingush will be celebrated this year as “a day of memory and glory.”

            What is glorious about that act of genocide, commentators say, is hard to understand, strongly suggesting that this rewriting of history will other further alienate the Ingush people from the Moscow-appointed government that rules over them at the present time (миннац-ингушетии-грезит-о-лояльном-му/#more-1011).

            Meanwhile, there were four actions in courtrooms. First, prosecutors asked that protester Zelimkkhan Bapkhoyev be sentenced to 20 months in prison ( Second, a judge sentenced another protester Gelany Khamkhoyev to 21 months but with time already served he will be released in ten days (

            Third, activist Rashid Aushev continued to maintain his innocence of the charges against him, even as his relatives told the court that his health has deteriorated since being incarcerated ( And fourth, the Russian Supreme Court reduced the draconian fine that had been imposed on Malsag Uzhakhov, the president of the Union of Teips.

            The teip leader earlier was ordered by courts in the North Caucasus to pay 150,000 rubles (2500 US dollars) for his role in the protests. Now, after appeals to Russia’s highest court, he will only have to pay 10,000 rubles (160 US dollars) (

            Also today, there were two other developments likely to affect Ingushetia and its protest movement in the future. On the one hand, Russian President Vladimir Putin called for introducing a constitutional ban on Russia giving up any territory it now controls (

            Given that the Ingush protests are in the first instance about the leader of their republic giving up 26,000 hectares to Chechnya in September 2018, many in the republic are likely to see Putin’s words as providing them with yet another argument to reverse what Yunus-Bek Yevkurov and Ramzan Kadyrov did.

            And on the other hand, Rosstat announced that Ingushetia had one of the highest natural growth rates in the country over the first 11 months of last year. It had 7126 births and only 1287 deaths during that period. Only Chechnya had a greater natural increase during that period (

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