Sunday, March 21, 2021

Supporters of Ingush Seven Hunger Strikers Fear for Their Health

Paul Goble

            Staunton, March 19 – All of the Ingush Seven are on hunger strike – earlier reports that Malsag Uzhakhov was not were incorrect, lawyers say – and family and friends have expressed concern for those of their number who are elderly like Uzhakhov or suffer from serious diseases like Akhmed Barakhoyev and Zarifa Sautiyeva (

            Nonetheless, the strike continues, although the Seven are taking water. But outside the walls of their place of incarceration, actions in support of them both by Ingush and by their supporters in Russian cities have more or less ceased given the fears of many that the Russian siloviki will arrest and charge anyone who takes part, activists say.

            Timur Akiyev, head of the Ingush section of the Memorial Human Rights Center, says that in the republic and beyond “repressions are continuing, with the sword of Damocles hanging over all who take part in meetings and who fear that going into the streets will lead to new arrests.”

            Two more Ingush activists were arrested today for earlier protests, and one of them was physically abused by siloviki ( In Moscow and St. Petersburg, activists are now focusing less on Ingush problems than on their own, rights leader Svetlana Ganushkina says

            In an assessment of where things are headed, Ingush detainee Barakh Chemurziyev in his latest “letter from a detention center” says that Ingush are increasingly angry at Moscow and their trust in the federal authorities has now fallen “close to zero” (

            Given this trend, almost anything could trigger an explosion, something the authorities should recognize and modify their approach, unless they hope that they can exploit such a rising to justify mass repression against the Ingush people – which tragically appears to be the goal to which they are proceeding.

            He cites with regret Albert Einstein’s observation that unfortunately “there are only two things which are infinite – the universe and human stupidity, although [he acknowledge] about the universe [he wasn’t] certain.” 

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