Staunton, Dec. 25 – The embattled Memorial organization has released a year-end report on the state of human rights in the North Caucasus and leads with a denunciation of the conviction of the Ingush Seven their draconian sentences. It says this case was an attack on all Ingush civil society and indeed on civil society across the region and Russia as a whole.
The report also focuses on other issues such as Chechnya’s increasingly violent repressions within the republic and beyond and on the varied state of civil society across the region (memohrc.org/ru/bulletins/byulleten-situaciya-v-zone-vooruzhyonnogo-konflikta-na-severnom-kavkaze-osenyu-2021-goda).
Andrey Krasno of the Kavkazr portal spoke with Vladimir Malykhin, one of the authors of the report about the situation in the region over the past year and the prospects for it in 2022 (kavkazr.com/a/budet-rasti-vsevlastje-i-vsedozvolennostj-silovikov-itogi-goda-na-severnom-kavkaze/31633048.html).
“In Chechnya,” he says, “the institutions of civil society have been practically completely destroyed while in Daghestan, rights groups and some free media still exist. Until recently, they existed in Ingushetia as well, but ‘the Ingush case’ inflicted various serious harm on them, although some remnants of their former activity are still preserved.”
But it is clear, Malykhin continues, that “the federal center has adopted a course intended to suppress any independent civic activity and to promote the unification of regions, the de facto end of federalism and the transition de facto to a unitary state.” That policy will continue; how the peoples of the North Caucasus will respond remains to be seen.
One additional trend seems certain as well. The armed underground in the North Caucasus has been almost completely destroyed; but the siloviki to demonstrate their usefulness seek to play up their continued utility by bringing charges of participation in it, something that helps Moscow’s goals given that it isn’t constrained by facts or law.
Thus, more fabricated cases involving supposed participation in armed groups are almost a certainty in 2022, Malykhin says. And in order to sustain the illusion that what is going on is justified, the Russian authorities are dragging up the names of groups which all observers say disappeared decades ago such as At-Taqfir val-Hijra, last heard of in the 1970s.
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