Staunton, September 29 – Russian prosecutors have announced that they have now concluded their pre-trial investigations of the seven Ingush activists they have charged with organizing attacks on siloviki during a March 2019 demonstration against the Yevkurov-Kadyrov deal giving away 10 percent of Ingushetia’s land.
Over the objections of the defendants who deny their guilt but sought trial in Ingushetia, the powers that be with the backing of the Russian Supreme Court have arranged that the trial, one that human rights activists say will be the worst kind of show trial, outside Ingushetia in the Russia region of Stavropol.
Memorial has decried this as illegal and unconstitutional and now points out that the number of Ingush charged and likely to be convicted now exceeds the number of Russians who were charged and convicted at the time of the Bolotnoye affair almost a decade ago in Moscow (memohrc.org/ru/news_old/memorial-publikuet-obnovlyonnyy-spisok-figurantov-dela-o-mitinge-2019-goda-v-ingushetii).
Declaring the pre-trial investigations over likely precludes further extension of the detentions of the seven, many of whom have been behind bars for more than a year; but it also means the authorities must now set the date for the trial, likely in October or November (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5F72E811F321A, fortanga.info/2020/09/sud-lidery/ and https://www.kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/354691/).
Once that happens, three things are likely: First, large protests against this move are likely in Ingushetia and wherever Ingush people live. Second, these are likely to be joined by rights activists from across the Russian Federation and around the world. And third, the trial itself because of its transparent injustice is likely to trigger protests by other nations as well.
Show trials can work for an authoritarian or totalitarian regime that is in complete control of the situation, but in Russia today, headed by a totalitarian wannabe who is not in complete control of everything, they are likely to have exactly the opposite effect, one resembling throwing water on a grease fire and leading to its spread.