Thursday, September 16, 2021

Ingush Seven Trial Increasingly Focusing on Regime Rather than Defendants

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Sept. 14 – As the defense in the Ingush Seven trial presents its case, the courtroom hearing has become ever less about what the defendants supposedly did than an indictment of what the former regime of Yunus-Bek Yevkurov did, a shift that makes each new week of the trial even more potentially explosive.

            This week, two witnesses, Yakub Gogiyev of the Dzurdzuki Historical Georgraphy Society and Askhab Goygov, the former head of Yevkurov’s administration, added their testimony to this growing trend (

            Gogiyev described how the Yevkurov regime had pursued its policy of making territorial concessions to Chechnya long before the 2018 agreement, exploring border areas as early as 2014 and refusing to challenge Chechen moves such as the construction of roads there which pointed to the eventual loss of the land to Grozny.

            And Goygov argued that the entire business from the handing over of land to Chechnya, the organization of protests against that decision, and the mass protest for which the Ingush Seven are being charged with being ringleaders were all “provocations of the authorities” who were seeking to distract attention from their corruption and incompetence.

            According to him, had this not been the case, the protests would never have grown to the size they did as earlier opposition groups had not been able to attract more than a few dozen people into the streets and not the thousands who came out in March 2019. Yevkurov worked hard to make the protests massive so that Moscow would support him and not them.

            There were three provocations in all, Goygov told the court. “The first provocation was in October 2018 when the agreement was signed. Then people assembled. The second provocation in this situation was an attempt to delete the most fundamental [part of the accord]. And the third was on March 27, 2019” when the Ingush asembled with no real goal in prospect.

            The court also heard from two other defense witnesses who rejected all the government charges but refused defense calls that Sergey Bachurin, the head of the Chief Administration of the Interior Ministry for the North Caucasus Federal District, be called as a witness. He oversaw the response to the March 2019 demonstration (

            Meanwhile, there were two other related developments in Ingushetia today. The Council of Teips released the list of members of its commission on resolving land issues in the republic including on the border with Chechnya (

            And lawyers for Akhmed Pogorov, the vice president of the World Congress of the Ingush People, said his health is rapidly deteriorating in the detention center where he is being held because he has been denied necessary medical care (

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