A suicide bomber attacked the motorcade of Ingush Interior Minister Musa Medov on September 30. The Moscow Times reported on October 1 that the male bomber attempted to ram a Lada hatchback packed with explosives into Medov’s convoy in downtown Nazran at 8:20 a.m., local time, but the car exploded before it collided with the minister’s armored Mercedes sedan. According to Gazeta.ru, Ingush prosecutors said Medov and his bodyguards were unharmed, while five bystanders were wounded and several houses in the vicinity of the blast were damaged. Kommersant reported on October 1 that among the injured were a taxi driver and his passenger who were driving by when the bomb detonated and two women living in apartment buildings nearby.
Kommersant quoted sources in Ingushetia’s Interior Ministry as saying that Medov was saved by the fact that his Mercedes was armored. In April 2004, a suicide bomber in a car targeted the motorcade of Ingush President Zyazikov. According to Kommersant, in that incident Zyazikov, like Medov, was saved by his armored Mercedes. Kavkazky Uzel reported on September 30 that an unexploded bomb equal to 40 kilograms of TNT in explosive force was found at the scene of the attack on Medov and that his was life was spared due to the fact that the bomb failed to detonate.
Following the attack, Medov said: “Behind today’s explosion stand forces that are doing everything to destabilize the situation in both Ingushetia and the entire North Caucasus.” According to Kommersant, Medov also claimed that the situation in the republic is stable and under the control of its law-enforcement bodies.
On September 3, just four days after Magomed Yevloev, founder of the Ingushetiya.ru opposition website, died of a gunshot wound sustained in police custody, his father, Yakha Yevloev, vowed that Ingush President Zyazikov and Ingush Interior Minister Medov would be made to answer for his son’s murder, declaring a blood feud with both men (North Caucasus Weekly, September 5). However, Kommersant reported on October 1 that Ingush officials were not inclined to connect the suicide bombing targeting Medov to the actions of his friends and relatives. “Those seeking revenge don’t take vengeance that way – it was more likely work of Wahhabis, who place no value even on their own lives,” Umar Sapraliev, Ingushetia’s deputy authorized representative in Moscow, told the newspaper. He also claimed that Yakha Yevloev had already taken back his own declaration of a blood feud. Ingush opposition leader Magomed Khazbiev also rejected the idea that the attack on Musa Medov was the result of a blood feud. “Yes, we consider Mr. Medov guilty of the death of Magomed (Yevloev), but that does not mean we planned to take revenge on him this way,” Khazbiev said.
Meanwhile, former Ingush president Ruslan Aushev told Ekho Moskvy radio on September 30, the day of the failed attempt on Ingush Interior Minister Musa Medov’s life, that news coming out of Ingushetia is reminiscent of “reports from the front-line” and that the situation in the republic has “elements of a slow civil war.” According to the Russian opposition website Theotherrussia.org, Aushev told Ekho Moskvy that law-enforcement authorities, public servants and ordinary residents in the region are coming under fire and that attacks on state officials and kidnappings of ordinary citizens, allegedly carried out by security forces, have spiked in recent months. Aushev did not connect the suicide bombing attack on Musa Medov with a blood feud over the murder of Magomed Yevloev, but did not exclude the possibility that it was related.
Aushev said that while the Kremlin was sending additional soldiers to Ingushetia, it would be impossible to solve the republic’s economic, social and political problems by use of force alone. “Pressure by force gives rise to retaliatory pressure by force,” Aushev said. “The radicalization of society is happening, especially of the youth. We need to understand what is happening.” According to Interfax, Aushev told Ekho Moskvy that he thought the investigation of Magomed Yevloev’s death has been delayed unnecessarily. “This was a prominent man in Ingushetia,” Aushev said of Yevloev. “It seemed to me that this would be the most rapid solving of a crime in the Russian Federation in the past ten years. I thought the first suspects would be arrested the same evening. Look how much time has passed. They know what car it was, who met him and who was seeing him off. The man is dead, and they are still discussing what court the case should be passed to. They should have found out who did what within an hour.”
According to Kavkazky Uzel, Aushev also told Ekho Moskvy that it is necessary as quickly as possible “to restore elementary lawfulness” in Ingushetia “and establish order in the law-enforcement bodies and power structures temporarily located on the territory on Ingushetia” so that they do not feel they can act with impunity.
Ingushetia.org reported that President Zyazikov ordered the republic’s radio and television broadcasting center to block Ekho Moskvy’s signal into the republic for the duration of Aushev’s on-air interview. As Theotherrussia.org noted, Ingushetia.org is a copy of Ingushetiya.ru, whose domain name was revoked by a court order and which has had increasing problems operating in the republic.
Interfax on October 1 quoted Ingush People’s Assembly Speaker Makhmud Sakalov as saying in response to Aushev’s comments that it is “extremely unpleasant to hear such arguments from a person who headed the republic for many years and understands full well that these problems also existed under him, and that he left them unresolved as a legacy for the republic’s new leadership.”
Meanwhile, Kavkazky Uzel on September 30 quoted Aleksei Mukhin, head of the Center for Political Information, as saying that it is time for the Kremlin to intervene in the situation in Ingushetia. Radio Liberty quoted Mukhin as saying that the reason for the escalation of the conflict in Ingushetia is that “the so-called opposition in Ingushetia came into being because the financial flows between Russneft, which was headed by [Ingush businessman] Mikhail Gutseriev, and Ingushetia, ceased.” According to Mukhin, this left Ingushetia’s clans without financing. Now, Oleg Deripaska, owner of the Basic Element holding and the richest person in Russia, is seeking to buy Russneft, which will mean “the total loss of very powerful financial nourishment for Ingush circles,” Mukhin said. He also said the President Dmitry Medvedev needs to deal with Ingushetia the way that Vladimir Putin dealt with Chechnya. “He [Medvedev] should choose a powerful figure in Ingushetia and completely delegate all power and all authority to them in order to pacify Ingushetia the way Putin did in his time in Chechnya,” Mukhin said.