Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 12

On April 16, Russian State Duma deputy Evgeny Marchenko and leaders of Russian human rights organizations held a press conference in Moscow during which they expressed their concern “over the situation which has been created in Ingushetia on the eve of the second round of elections for the president of the republic, which are set for April 28.” (The next president of Ingushetia will, of course, affect the fate of Chechen internally displaced persons living in that republic in numerous ways.) According to Marchenko, officials of the Southern Presidential Federal District are currently exerting “heavy pressure” on Ingush voters to reject Duma deputy Alikhan Amirkhanov, who received 31.5 percent of the vote in the first round, and to support retired FSB General Murat Zyazikov, who received 19.4 percent. Lyudmila Alekseeva, president of the Moscow Helsinki Group, stated during the press conference that she could not understand why representatives of the federal authorities were carrying out “such nightmarish actions” against Amirkhanov, who, after all, is a member of the pro-presidential Unity faction in the Russian parliament. In the view of Alekseeva, “the manipulations of the elections for the head of Ingushetia and the ignoring of the will of the populace of the republic on the part of [Russian] officials could lead to a doubling or tripling of Chechnyas, taking into account that Ingushetia represents a ‘frontline’ republic” (Novye Izvestia, April 17).