Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 6 Issue: 33

On September 6, two explosions took place in Ingushetia’s Barsuki municipal district next to the Kavkaz federal highway and near the café “Tusholi,” Interfax reported. An Ingushetian Interior Ministry source told the news agency that the first explosion took place around 7:30 AM local time, under a cellular telephone tower located on the grounds of a service station not far from the Kavkaz highway. The $200,000 tower, which belonged to the Mobikom Kavkaz company, was put out of commission. About four hours after the first blast, a second explosion took place as specialists from the cellular phone company and Ingushetian Interior Ministry officers were inspecting the scene and carrying out repairs. None of the phone company or police personnel were injured. Both explosive devices were stuffed with nails, bolts, and other metal objects. Kavazky Uzel noted that Barsuki, near where the blasts took place, is the native village of Ingushetian President Murat Zyazikov. reported on September 2 that an attempt had been made on the life of the chief of the Ingushetian president’s security service, Ruslanbek Dzyazikov, in Nazran. According to the website, a gunman fired at Dzyazikov, a relative of President Zyazikov, but missed, hitting instead the deputy chief of the republic’s department for the protection of government facilities, Magomed Kartoev, who was hospitalized with non-life-threatening wounds. The press service of Ingushetia’s Interior Ministry reported that a suspect in the attack, Magomed Esmurziev, had been arrested. The ministry described Esmurziev as “an active participant in illegal armed formations who was on the wanted list for participation in a rebel attack on Ingushetia.”

Just a bit more than a week earlier, Ingushetian Prime Minister Ibragim Malsagov was wounded in an apparent assassination attempt. In that incident, which took place on August 25, two roadside bombs detonated near an outdoor market in Nazran just as Malsagov’s motorcade passed. The Associated Press quoted Nikolai Ivashkevich, a spokesman for the southern regional branch of the Emergency Situations Ministry, as saying that Malsagov was wounded in the hand and leg and that Malsagov’s driver was killed and two other people were injured. Acting Ingushetian Interior Minister Beslan Khamkhoev said that the two explosives had been placed about 10 to 15 meters apart and detonated by remote control within ten seconds of each other.

On August 15, Nazran police chief Dzhabrail Kostoev and his driver were seriously wounded when a roadside bomb detonated as his motorcade drove by Nazran’s central city mosque (see Chechnya Weekly, August 18).

Meanwhile, Ingushetian opposition leader Musa Ozdoev predicted in an interview with published on August 27 that the situation in the republic would worsen. Ozdoev, who is a deputy in the Ingushetian People’s Assembly, said the situation would deteriorate mainly because of the “feeble rule” of Murat Zyazikov and his brother Rashid, who heads the Ingushetian governmental apparatus, and “the bribery and corruption that have infected all institutions of power and administration” in the republic.

“Against a background of loud words about thousands of jobs and construction projects being created, which in fact is pure deceit, unemployment is up in Ingushetia, young people see no hope for the future and there are no lawful means of earning money to feed one’s family,” Ozdoev said. “I agree we must fight terrorism, but serious and irreversible mistakes have been made in this area. Hundreds of young people have been captured, shot or disappeared without trace, and their only guilt was that they did not drink vodka, did not go partying and observed the norms of Islam. I am not saying that there were no guilty people among the hundreds who have been murdered or abducted, but guilt in any crime must be established as a result of an investigation and a trial. Relatives, friends and comrades of those who have been unjustly murdered and abducted are taking their revenge and some have joined the ranks of the fighters. So what we have in Ingushetia is a second Dagestan, and recent events are confirmation of this.”

Elaborating on the issue of corruption in Ingushetia, Ozdoev charged that “the cost of a ministerial post has reached nearly $1 million” while the republican prosecutor’s office “has not brought a single case of corruption even though a report by the Audit Chamber of the Russian Federation clearly showed that the republican budget was being embezzled.” Ozdoev said that Murat Zyazikov and his entourage should be “sacked immediately” and their activities investigated, while “those officials who have been embezzling the budget must be brought to account.” He also called for the nullification of the results of the elections for the republic’s People’s Assembly, the holding of new elections and the formation of “a representative body that truly meets the aspirations of the people.”