Ingushetia’s Opposition Set to Hold “Decisive” Protest

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 9 Issue: 22

Ingushetia’s opposition is set to hold what described as a “final and decisive” republic-wide protest in Nazran and other cities on May 6. The website reported on May 5 that the main demands of the protest are the freeing of political prisoners, the resignation of Murat Zyazikov as Ingushetia’s president and the return of Ruslan Aushev to that post. The opposition has already gathered more than 50,000 signatures on a petition calling for Aushev’s return as president.

Citing Novaya Gazeta, reported that representatives of 16 of Ingushetia’s teips, or clans, will take part in the protest. The decision to hold the republic-wide protest was taken at a meeting of six teips, to which six residents of the republic who were arrested for participation in the abortive January 26 protest in Nazran belong (Chechnya Weekly, January 31). On May 5, the republic’s Supreme Court handed down decisions freeing five of the demonstrators from pre-trial detention. The court had earlier handed down a decision freeing another of the January 26 demonstrators from pre-trial detention. All six had been placed in a remand prison in Nalchik, Kabardino-Balkaria, where they held a hunger strike lasting 12 days.

The teips have been joined in the protest by representatives of those families seeking to revive the ancient Ingush supreme deliberative body, Mekhk-Kkhel (Chechnya Weekly, March 6). The acting Mekhk-Kkhel chairman, Akhmed Kotiev, told Novaya Gazeta that protests will take place in Ingushetia’s capital Magas, Nazran, Malgobek, Karabulak and Ordzhonikidzevskaya.

Protest organizers say that authorities have begun putting obstacles in their way. Magomed Khazbiev, the head of the national protest’s organizing committee and the brother of one of the six arrested for the January 26 demonstration, said that dozens of state and municipal workers who signed the petition calling for the return of Ruslan Aushev as Ingushetia’s president have been fired from their jobs and that police have towed cars displaying stickers bearing Aushev’s portrait and torn off the stickers. As a result of such pressure tactics, some of the protest’s organizers have urged dropping the demand for Aushev’s return to the presidency, at least until all of the signatures on the petition have been gathered, reported.

According to the website, Ingushetia’s government has not yet responded to five notifications about the planned June 6 protest submitted by its organizers. Meanwhile, the republic’s chief prosecutor has already declared the protest illegal.