Staunton, May 14 – After repeated delays, the trial of 12 Ingush policemen who refused to obey orders to use force to disperse a protest in Magas in May 2019 has finally begun. The policemen who were fired after the incident continue to insist on their innocence, and their lawyers say that the authorities have no case but are likely to get convictions anyway.
As in the case of the Ingush Seven against the leaders of that protest, the authorities appear to be drawing out this case as long as possible, delaying its opening and then declaring long intervals until future sessions – the next will be on May 25, apparently hoping that passions will cool.
But this case is if anything more of a problem for the powers than the other because it involves the power structures themselves. If police refuse to obey orders to suppress protesters, that is a far greater challenge to the authorities in Magas and Moscow that are those who actually take part in demonstrations.
Moreover, the testimony the defense is likely to offer will only highlight the fact that the police refused to act lest the protest dissolve into bloody violence and that it was their political masters in the republic and in Moscow that apparently wanted that or were at least prepared to accept it.
That will deepen the divide between the people and the authorities and leave the former more alienated and hostile to the latter than they are even now. (On this case, see fortanga.org/2022/05/nachalos-rassmotrenie-dela-ingushskih-policzejskih-pytavshihsya-predotvratit-nasilie-na-mitinge/kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/376131/.)