Ingush Opposition Leader: Situation is Worse then Under Zyazikov

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 10 Issue: 19

Kavkazky Uzel on May 14 quoted a leader of Ingushetia’s opposition, Magomed Khazbiev, as saying that President Yunus Bek-Yevkurov has not lived up to the hopes that Ingushetia’s people placed in him after President Dmitry Medvedev picked him to replace the unpopular Murat Zyazikov as the republic’s leader.

Khazbiev said that Yevkurov has been unable to curb the excesses of the special services in the republic. “Thus far, the special services, the death squads, have not stopped the practice of going into homes and grabbing guys who then disappear without a trace; they have still not stopped shooting young guys in the street in broad daylight,” Khazbiev was quoted as saying in an interview with Ekho Moskvy radio on May 10. “There will be retaliation, there will be explosions, there will be terrorist acts; people will go off into the woods [to join the rebels-NCW].” Khazbiev said that opposition to Ingushetia’s leadership has become a mass movement, with “a great many young guys” having gone off to join the ranks of the rebels during the last two to three months. He predicted that this process would continue as long as official lawlessness in the republic continues.

According to Kavkazky Uzel, during the first three months of 2009 alone, 12 people were killed and 32 wounded in 38 armed attacks on military and police, while during the same period 17 civilians in the republic were murdered and three were kidnapped, two of whom were subsequently found dead.

Khazbiev said that the republic’s destabilization began under Zyazikov but that acts of protest during his tenure had managed to bring kidnappings by security forces to a halt. But the situation has “simply worsened” since Yevkurov replaced Zyazikov, he said. “After the new president came into office, he was given the benefit of the doubt by us [the opposition],” Khazbiev told Ekho Moskvy. “We sometimes simply said, when talking to journalists … that the situation isn’t changing. But it is actually getting worse.”

Khazbiev blamed the republic’s leadership for the worsening situation, saying,  “If it cannot handle the situation, if the special services are not under its control, if it cannot handle them, if it cannot impose order in the courts, then what are we talking about?”, adding, “What are we talking about? Violations of human rights, lawlessness – no one is following any laws, the courts are acting lawlessly, criminal are in the prosecutor’s office, criminals are in the Interior Ministry.”

Khazbiev noted that people from Zyazikov’s administration continue to hold the key posts in the republic’s security apparatus. He said he thought Yevkurov would like to improve the situation in Ingushetia but is simply unable to do so.

To highlight what he sees as the continuing and even worsening official lawlessness in Ingushetia, Khazbiev said that the name of Magomed Yevloev, the founder of who was shot to death in police custody last August, cannot even be mentioned on republican television.

On May 6, the office of Ingushetia’s prosecutor announced that it will not investigate the circumstances surrounding Yevloev’s death. A Nazran court had earlier ruled that Yevloev’s detention by police was unlawful and the officer who had sanctioned Yevloev’s arrest admitted that an arrest warrant for Yevloev had been obtained only after his death. Yevloev’s lawyers subsequently put in an official request with the Investigative Committee to look into the circumstances surrounding his detention, but the republic’s prosecutors have now turned down that request.

Meanwhile the events of the last week in Ingushetia would seem to validate Khazbiev’s gloomy picture of the situation in the republic.

On May 15, unidentified gunmen fired on a gas station in the village of Troitskaya in Ingushetia’s Sunzha district while, in a separate incident, unidentified gunmen fired on a private home in the village of Kantyshevo in the republic’s Nazran district. quoted republican Interior Ministry sources as saying that gunmen in two cars fired on the gas station, causing a fire that was put out by local firemen. No one was hurt in the incident, but the attackers managed to escape. According to Interfax, one person was wounded in the attack on the private home in Kantyshevo.

An officer of Ingushetia’s Emergency Situation Ministry, Ruslan Geroev, was killed on May 14 in the village of Ordzhonikidzevskaya in Ingushetia’s Sunzha district. RIA Novosti quoted a local law enforcement source as saying Geroev was shot by unidentified attackers driving in a Lado Priora car without license plates. The victim’s brother, Alkhan Geroev, is the head of the criminal investigations department of the Sunzha district police. On April 20, unknown attackers fired grenade launchers and flame-throwers at the Geroev family home, wounding Alkhan Geroev and killing his sister. According to, Alkhan Geroev had just recently left the hospital, where he had been treated for wounds sustained in the April 20 attack.

On May 13, unidentified gunmen fired on a private house in the Plievsky municipal district of the city of Nazran, Itar-Tass reported. No one was hurt in the attack, but the house sustained considerable damage. Local police sources told the news agency that the gunmen fired from a black Lada Priora car without license plates.

On May 11, an explosion outside the municipal police station in the city of Nazran wounded two policemen and one local resident. Interfax reported that the blast, which took place near a Volga car belonging to a policeman that was parked outside the police station, was caused by an explosive device that had been placed in a garbage can near the parked car, which was damaged along with several other vehicles. A republic Interior Ministry source told the news agency that the two police officers and local residents received minor shrapnel wounds and were treated on the spot, refusing to be hospitalized.

On May 10, Sultan Suleimanov, a 33-year-old a resident of the village of Arshty in Ingushetia’s Sunzha district was shot dead by unknown persons, Interfax reported.

On May 9, the parents of a suspected rebel, Abdul-Malik Aliev, were shot and killed outside their home in the village of Ordzhonikidsevskaya. A police source told RIA Novosti that the attackers escaped in a VAZ-2112 car.

On May 7, unknown gunmen fired on a car belonging to a district police officer from the village of Galashki, Murat Kostoev, as he was driving on the outskirts of the village of Muzhichi, Interax reported. Kostoev was wounded and hospitalized. At around the same time, unidentified attackers broke into the house of a farmer in Arshty, Musa Khatsiev, took him outside and shot him in the head. Separately, unidentified people in a car planted an explosive device at a gas station in the village of Gazi-Yurt in Ingushetia’s Nazran district. Bomb disposal experts were called and managed to defuse the device safely. Also on May 7, an improvised explosive device made out of an artillery shell was found at the front gate of a house belonging to a former head of the republic’s presidential auditing department, Zelimkhan Khautiev.

In yet another May 7 incident, a car that was being driven by a senior official with Ingushetia’s Interior Ministry, Khamzat Tatrashvili, was blown up in the village of Ordzhonikidzevskaya. Tatrashvili was hospitalized with severe wounds.