Ingush and Chechens Express Alarm about Ingushetia Situation

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 8 Issue: 35

Kavkazky Uzel reported on September 11 that residents of Ingushetia are alarmed by the worsening security situation in their republic and that some are even contemplating leaving Ingushetia for good. Movlatkhan, a 43-year-old Chechen refugee who lives in Nazran, told Kavkazky Uzel correspondent Timur Khamkhoev: “There has never been such a worsening of the situation in the republic as now. You walk in the streets during the day and think that something is about to blow up or that there will be shooting from somewhere, and the nighttime is even worse. You’re afraid even to fall asleep. Is it really possible to live like this? We once fled from Chechnya for these reasons. Now the same thing is happening here. Only now you don’t know where to go.”

Yusup Bedzizhev, an employee of a private firm in Ingushetia, told Kavkazky Uzel: “I never thought that Ingushetia might become a ‘hot spot’. But it seems that when someone wants it, any sleepy corner can be made a ‘hot region.'”

Akhmed, a 26-year-old from Malgobek, was critical of Ingushetia’s law-enforcement bodies. “Murders and shooting are happening every day,” he told the website. “Neither the local authorities nor the numerous force structures are able to affect the situation. The soldiers themselves have difficulty repelling attacks, [so] how can they protect the local population?”

Commenting on the September 11 murder of Vasily Lyulakov and his two sons, a contributor to a forum on the independent website using the alias “InGuSH” wrote: “Not a day goes by without a murder. And, as a rule, it all takes place at midnight.” Another contributor to the forum, “kiff,” wrote: “Everything is going according to the same plan as in Chechnya…I hope that the consequences will not be the same.” A third contributor to the forum, “fatma,” wrote: “Everyone who can leave the republic should do so, because these provocations are being done not without purpose. The Kremlin wants to start a slaughter here. A peaceful nation is suffering.”

Chechens interviewed by Kavkazky Uzel about the situation in Ingushetia echoed many of the comments of their Ingush neighbors. A 55-year-old Grozny resident, Said-Emin Makhmudov, told Kavkazky Uzel correspondent Sultan Abubakarov: “What is happening today on the territory of Ingushetia reminds me of what happened here at the start of the so-called ‘second war’ [in Chechnya]. These senseless murders, attacks on police personnel, firing on military posts and so on bring about nothing good. We already have, as they say, gone through this. It seems to me that powerful and influential forces and not a handful of separatists, as the official authorities present it, are interested in an escalation of tension on the territory of Ingushetia.”

An anonymous staffer with a Chechen NGO told the website: “I believe that the military and special services are behind the events in Ingushetia. One of my relatives lives there, and he recounted how after the murder of a local resident in Karabulak [a reference to the security forces’ killing of Apti Dolakov, who they alleged was an insurgent], the Ingush OMON detained several plainclothes FSB employees, on whom the weapon used to kill a Russian family and two natives of Dagestan was found. However, on order ‘from above,’ they were then freed, and several local guys were accused of the murders (Chechnya Weekly, September 6). And one other strange detail: for some reason all of these murders and attacks increased precisely after additional forces were introduced into Ingushetia.”

The NGO staffer continued: “What’s happening in Ingushetia looks like what happened in the autumn of 1999, when apartment buildings were blown up in Moscow and Volgodonsk, as a result of which hundreds of people were killed. The Chechens were ‘appointed’ as the perpetrators – although neither then nor now has a single Chechen been prosecuted in that case – and the ‘counter-terrorist operation’ was started in our republic. It seems to me that those generals who ‘established order’ here simply need a new small war. Because they have already gotten used to big money, ranks and titles, which during military actions rain down on them as if from a horn of plenty. In any case, all of this will hardly end well. It seems to me that the military and political leadership of the country is now feverishly looking for new ‘internal enemies’ in order to, under a plausible pretext, ‘tighten the nut’ even more strongly ahead of the upcoming [Russian] elections. It is possible that it has been decided now to appoint the Ingush as ‘the guilty ones.’”