Friday, March 5, 2021

Official Case Against Ingush Seven Continues to Collapse, But a Guilty Verdict Still Near Certain

Paul Goble

            Staunton, March 3 – At today’s session of the case against the Ingush Seven, one prosecution witness came out in defense of the accused and another prosecution witness who earlier had said they were guilty of what officials have changed them with withdrew his earlier words and said there was no basis for convicting them.

            All this is playing out in local media so that people in Ingushetia and more generally can see the arbitrary and unjustified actions of the powers that be for what they are, open repression rather than anything approaching justice, something that undermines the system more thoroughly than any actions by demonstrators.

            Nonetheless, it is still likely that the judges in this and other cases will return guilty verdicts, although it perhaps may be increasingly likely that the punishments will be suspended, lest anger about the injustice of the courts be compounded by anger at the sentences imposed ( and

            Another Ingush case is highlighting that what the powers that be are doing is animated exclusively by their desire to protect themselves and win points with Moscow rather than do justice if anything even more clearly. That involves the recent arrest of former Ingush interior minister Akhmed Pogorov.

            Many had wondered why the authorities had allowed him to remain at large when they could so easily have arrested him given that he made little effort to leave the republic or conceal his location. The answer appears to be that the authorities calculated he was doing less damage to them while free than he would if arrested – until he stepped over what is a red line for them.

            As the independent Fortanga portal points out, the siloviki only acted after Pogorov expanded his investigation of corruption among the siloviki and the government itself. When he did and when his research put them at risk, the powers that be decided that it was better to stop even if his arrest would anger people (

            In sum, both these cases are object lessons to the Ingush and everyone else that the current regime in Russia at all levels is concerned in the first instance in defending the personal interests of those who have power rather than about anything written in the legal code or justice, a lesson that will do more harm to their standing than the near certain guilty verdicts. 


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