Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 7 Issue: 14

A homemade bomb detonated in Nazran, Ingushetia, on April 1, killing one person and wounding two. “The explosion occurred near school No. 5 on Mutaliev Street at 8:15 a.m. Saturday,” a city police source told Interfax. “It killed the driver of a van that was passing by. A contract sergeant from the Nazran border guard unit, who was in an Ural truck parked nearby, was wounded.” The source said that investigators suspected the attack was aimed at the serviceman. On April 2, a bomb destroyed a monument to the first head of the Republic of Ingushetia, Indris Zyazikov, at a school in Nazran’s Barsukinsky district, Itar-Tass reported. Earlier, on March 30, an improvised explosive device consisting of an F-1 grenade and a clock serving as a timer had been found near a bus stop in downtown Nazran and defused.

The wave of bombings in Ingushetia followed a claim of responsibility from a group identifying itself as the Ingush jamaat “Sharia” for the kidnapping of Magomed Chakhkiev, a deputy in the parliament of Ingushetia and father-in-law of the republic’s president, Murat Zyazikov (see Chechnya Weekly, March 6 and 30).

Nezavisimaya gazeta on April 3 noted that the monument to Idris Zyazikov is situated in Barsuki, Murat Zyazikov’s native village —who is a son of the first Ingush leader’s sister—and thus can be seen as “a kind of warning.” The newspaper quoted Issa Kostoev, a Federation Council member representing Ingushetia, as saying that violence was an attempt to “derail” negotiations between Ingushetia and North Ossetia over repatriating refugees from the 1992 territorial war between the two republics—which, he said, had “achieved a kind of agreement” after “a lengthy period of dramatic confrontation.” But Ingushetian opposition leader Musa Ozdoev told the newspaper that the violence was a “reaction to the authorities’ tyranny toward their own people.” The overwhelming majority of people in Ingushetia, Ozdoev claimed, “openly dislike Zyazikov” but are afraid of “all these endless special operations, arrests, and abductions” and thus keep silent. “However, if people explode, we will have something worse than a new Chechnya here,” he said.

Magomed-Sali Aushev, Ingush deputy and head of the local branch of the Party of Peace, told Nezavisimaya gazeta: “There is only one reason for the worsening of the situation— the inertia of the authorities. Above all is the inertia of the law enforcement organs, which are supposed to prevent acts of terrorism. Three-hundred people have been abducted in the republic since 2002, and the fate of 60 of them remains unknown. During these kinds of incidents somebody always saw people in camouflage uniforms, armed to their teeth, but nobody knows who they were.”

The head of the Merkator research group, Dmitry Oreshkin, suggested that the violence in Ingushetia was due to the fact that there are serious clan conflicts there as—in Dagestan—and that some influential clans oppose Zyazikov’s clan. Valery Khomyakov, general director of the National Strategy Council, agreed, but also suggested that “certain Chechen clans” may be pressuring the Ingush leader. “At issue are the old ideas of setting up a single state, which were proclaimed by some Chechen politicians,” Khomyakov told Nezavisimaya gazeta. “We may be watching a continuation of this game, being aware that Zyazikov opposes the formation of a Chechen-Ingush republic. Why should he give up power?”