Staunton, November 28 – Three days before the seven leaders of the Ingush protest movement are scheduled to go on trial, Magomed Mutsolgov, the chairman of the Coordinating Council of NGOs of the Republic of Ingushetia, warned that unless Moscow and Magas intervene to stop this farce, trust in the authorities will collapse with unpredictable consequences.
In open letters to Vladimir Putin (kavkaz-uzel.eu/blogs/342/posts/46085) and republic head Makhmud-Ali Kalimatov (kavkaz-uzel.eu/blogs/342/posts/46086), the human rights activist laid most of the blame on Kalimatov’s predecessor, Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, praised Putin for removing him and for saying republic borders can’t be changed without referenda.
But Mutsolgov continued in both letters, the authorities in Moscow and Magas had not changed direction with the ouster of Yevkurov and continue to act in ways that have reduced the trust of the Ingush people in both governments to the breaking point. If the trial of the seven leaders on trumped up charges goes ahead, he warned, this will break down entirely.
These two letters are the clearest indication yet that the fears of both the authorities and the population that the trial of the seven leaders will spark a new wave of mass protests in the republic are not without foundation. While Mutsolgov’s tone is respectful, his words carry a clear warning that if this trial does go ahead, there will be consequences.
The most important will be a complete loss of trust in the authorities and an increasing willingness of the Ingush people to look to traditional leaders like the teips, muftis and mullahs, something that will change the nature of politics in that North Caucasus republic and will have unpredictable consequences.
Once such a genie is released from the bottle by the actions of the powers that be, those powers will find it far more difficult to put it back in than they would be showing better judgment and avoiding the steps that will surely lead to an explosion.