Staunton, September 6 – “Formally, the FSB Administration for the Republic of Ingushetia consists of Ingush siloviki,” Memorial activist Timur Akiyev says. “But basically, as we all know, the FSB Administration in the republic consists of officers dispatched from elsewhere.” Local officers aren’t used in any serious way.
Akiyev’s observation comes at the end of an interview he gave Radio Liberty’s Vadim Dubnov about the recent upsurge of counter-terrorist actions in Ingushetia, actions that have surprised many because unlike its neighbors, the republic has never been known as a hotbed of Islamist actions (ekhokavkaza.com/a/30822809.html).
The Memorial activist says that he cannot add to official reports about these counter-terrorist operations because people in Ingushetia don’t know what is going on. The only thing they have suggested is that the siloviki should arrest opponents rather than kill them (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2020/09/ingush-demand-siloviki-arrest-rather.html).
“No one is trying to understand the causes of the intensification of the conflict which is taking place now.” The population has been paralyzed by the arrests of opposition leaders and the attacks on NGOs, and the republic leadership has not said anything at all leaving the impression that it doesn’t believe that it is in any way involved.
Akiyev does not suggest but it seems plausible to assume that at least some Ingush, seeing that efforts to change the situation by peaceful demonstrations and other legal means have been blocked, have decided to take more radical steps. To the extent that is true, the Russian FSB is now fighting groups that Russian policy has helped to create.
Moscow may try in what many assume will be a show trial of opposition leaders to try to link them to the miniscule Islamist underground. That will be dishonest, of course, as the Ingush opposition has been committed to acting always within the law but no more dishonest than the charges Russian officials have made against Ingush activists.
Indeed, while no one is saying this yet, it is entirely possible that the upsurge in counter-terrorist actions in Ingushetia has nothing to do with a serious rise in the number of militants and militant action but everything to do with plans to paint with a broad brush the Ingush activists and the militants as members of one and the same group.