FSB head Nikolai Patrushev reluctantly admitted to the Duma last week that one of the Kremlin’s least favorite political figures deserves praise rather than blame for his activities during the Beslan tragedy, according to Gazeta.ru. In response to a Duma deputy who suggested that former Ingushetian president Ruslan Aushev should be given a medal for his role in rescuing several hostages, Patrushev conceded that “in considering how to respond to the terrorists, we were compelled to appeal to those who might be able to help resolve the situation.” He said that he himself had appealed to Aushev, and that the latter’s help “was valuable; I consider that it produced a positive effect.”
Once again pitting himself against the Moscow political establishment Aushev defended the Committees of Soldiers’ Mothers in an interview with correspondent Irina Kuksenkova of Moskovski komsomolets, published on October 29. “The mothers want just one thing,” he said, “the lives of their children. That is a natural desire, and it is impossible to condemn them.” The former president of Ingushetia again endorsed peace negotiations as the only feasible path out of the Chechen deadlock, asking rhetorically how the Kremlin could refuse such negotiations “with its own people” in Chechnya while supporting them in the case of the U.S. and Iraq.
In a separate interview with Novye izvestia, also published on October 29, Aushev charged that the Russian authorities have secretly issued instructions that Chechens, Ingush and other Caucasians are not to be appointed to judgeships or to senior administrative positions in the executive branch. “We are becoming like outcasts in our own country,” he said.