Leaflets in Ingushetia Threaten Gaming Hall Owners with Death

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 9 Issue: 6

Ingushetiya.ru reported on February 12 that leaflets had appeared in markets, bus stops and central streets in towns and villages around the republic warning that after March 1, drug dealers and owners of gaming establishments will be killed. The report quoted the leaflets as saying: “We appeal to all who rent out premises used as dens and gaming rooms, to those who guard them … who clean and service gathering places for Satans: fear Allah, otherwise you, who for the sake of enrichment participate in the debauchery of our brothers and sisters, will be punished in accordance with the Sharia court! We have refrained every time from physical destruction, however, the stubborn nature of the nit that is parasitic on our nation and has corrupted our people for the sake of its base and egotistical interests forces us to take special measures, right up to the physical destruction of the owners of depraved establishments.”

As Prague Watchdog noted, a statement of this kind signed by Ingush rebel leader Amir Magas appeared back in 2006 and was followed by some five attacks on the republic’s casinos with automatic weapons and grenade launchers. The website also noted that a series of arson attacks followed in March 2007, when Ingushetia’s best-known restaurant, the Golden Palace in Karabulak, was burned down, as was the Caravan restaurant in Nazran, a Nazran liquor store, and kiosks selling liquor in Malgobek.

The Regnum news agency quoted sources in Ingushetia’s Interior Ministry as saying they knew nothing about the leaflets but added that the authorities are conducing “an uncompromising fight against ‘one-armed bandits’,” including monthly raids which, the sources said, have had particularly positive results in recent months.

Kavkazky Uzel quoted a deputy in Ingushetia’s People’s Assembly as recalling that back in the summer of 2005, religious and public figures in Ingushetia called for the closure of all gaming establishments in the republic. According to the republican parliamentary deputy, the idea was supported by Ingushetia’s president, Murat Zyazikov, after which a special operational group was created to deal with the problem. As a result, the number of gambling establishments in Ingushetia dropped sharply, the legislator said.