Staunton, July 20 – Because it has one of the highest birthrates in the Russian Federation, Ingushetia has one of the youngest populations in that country. More than half of its people are under 21, but officials, both by excluding them from political participation and harassing their leaders, are rapidly alienating many in this rising generation.
That is the lesson one should draw from the life of Bagaudin Khautiyev, a lawyer who had a brilliant career ahead of him until he could no longer tolerate having young people be ignored completely and the Ingush nation excluded from participation in the decision to give 10 percent of the republic’s land to Chechnya in a backroom deal.
Because he was not prepared to go along no matter what, the father of four young children is today spending his 30th birthday behind bars, evidence that the powers that be in Moscow and Magas have little to offer this rising generation other than repression (fortanga.org/2020/07/bagaudin-hautiev-maksimalist-nuzhnyj-ingushetii/).
“If one read the biography of Khautiyev before the end of 2018, one might have concluded that he was an Ingush politician with a bright future, who had taken the necessary career moves to be in a position to lead some ministry or agency of the republic or represent Ingushetia in parliaments of various levels,” the editors of the Fortanga portal say.
A lawyer who had already been identified as one of “the reserve deputies of the Duma, he served as head of the Youth Government of his republic until he concluded in 2011 that the powers that be were tolerating that group only to conceal how little they really cared about the young. He then resigned and the leadership of that group resigned with him.
“More than half of the population of Ingushetia consists of young people,” he said at the time, “but there is not a single republic youth newspaper” – he later corrected that and served as editor of one – not a single program supporting talented youth, and not a single entertainment center for this generation.”
Khautiyev participated in the protests of October 2018 and March 2019 against the land deal with Chechnya, was arrested, and charged with extremism, although that charge collapsed when even the regime’s own pocket experts could not find any evidence of extremism in anything he said or wrote.
But instead of releasing him, they have kept Khautiyev beyond bars, again and again extending his sentence. Ruslan Mutsolgov, the leader of the Ingush branch of the Yabloko Party, said that Khautiyev has always stood out because he worked hard to help people both with legal services and advice.
And of equal importance, he analyzed the republic government’s budget, thus brining to the attention of everyone what the authorities were and were not doing with the funds entrusted to them. It is entirely possible that Khautiyev’s activity in that regard is the primary reason the powers that be want to keep him locked away.
No one questions that Khautiyev is a remarkable young man, quite out of the ordinary; but his travails, Fortanga suggests, call attention to those of others and his radicalization is being followed by others up to this point still unknown.