Monday, June 1, 2020

Female Mutilation in Ingushetia Not the Widespread Problem Moscow Writers Claim, Three Republic Experts Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 30 – Even a single incident of female sexual mutilation must be combatted and those responsible punished, Ingush activists say; but efforts by Moscow politicians and journalists to black the reputation of Ingushetia by playing up the extent of a marginal problem there must also be opposed.

            Earlier this month, a Russian politician called attention to a horrific case of a young women who reportedly had been subject to such an operation in a Magas hospital, implying that this was somehow typical of Ingush society as a whole (

            For many, this may have seemed entirely plausible given documentation about the extent of the problem in Daghestan (, and the willingness of those unfamiliar with the North Caucasus to assume that what is true of one place is true of all.

            But what may be true in one is rarely true of all, and three Ingush experts, rights activist Timur Akiyev, journalist Izabella Yevloyeva, and lawyer Tamerlan Akiyev, say that the phenomenon while perhaps widespread in Daghestan is uncharacteristic of Ingushetia (

            Timur Akiyev, head of the Ingush section of Memorial, says that female mutilation is rare in the republic. “As far as I am aware,” he continues, this operation is “not practiced among Ingush. And if someone does use this barbaric method, then this is being done in secret and hidden from the population.”

            The case Moscow writers have devoted so much attention to came to light only because one parent objected to what the other parent did, not because there is a specific ban on this practice in Russian law that the authorities could act on independently of such reports.  There should be such a law.

            Izabella Yevloyeva, the editor of the independent Fortanga news portal, adds that she learned about this practice “only a few years ago when it attracted widespread public attention in Daghestan. And I couldn’t imagine that such a practice exists in Ingushetia,” adding that “I have not encountered” any cases in the republic.

            She continues that the practice is abhorrent to her and that doctors who conduct such operations “must be held responsible and the young women given psychological help.” 

            And lawyer Tamerlan Akiyev agrees that female mutilation is rare in Ingushetia. There are some people in the republic who may seek to practice it, but it certainly is not the widespread problem some have suggested.  A legal ban on this horrific behavior would eliminate even those, but Russian law lacks such a ban.

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