…While Ingushetian and Federal Officials Say: “Crisis? What Crisis?”

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 8 Issue: 34

The reaction of Ingushetia’s leadership to the worsening security situation in the republic has displayed what might euphemistically be called an unwillingness to face reality. Newsru.com on September 3 reported that during a press conference in Moscow, Ingush President Murat Zyazikov accused the Russian media of disseminating false and alarmist information about the situation in the republic. “It is a real information war,” he said. “The situation in Ingushetia is getting better and, of course, there are some who do not like this, especially certain forces acting in our country and abroad.”

Zyazikov’s comments were echoed by Ingushetia’s vice premier in charge of security affairs, Bashir Aushev, who said on September 5 that external forces interested in destabilizing the republic were behind the recent attacks on Ingush law-enforcement personnel. The attacks, Aushev told Interfax, should be viewed as “the reaction of criminals to the energizing of the work of the law-enforcement bodies.”

Perhaps even more surreal were the comments of Leonid Slutsky, the deputy head of the State Duma’s International Affairs Committee, who on September 5 said of the situation in Ingushetia: “The situation in the republic is normalizing, Ingushetia is actively developing, the economy is strengthening, [and] new enterprises are opening.” According to ITAR-Tass, Slutsky said Ingushetia’s construction industry is developing particularly quickly. “One can say that the republic is one big construction site,” he said.

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov was less sanguine about the situation in Ingushetia, which borders Chechnya. “The operational situation in the neighboring republic has heated up somewhat as of late; it’s a pity, but it’s a fact,” Newsru.com on September 3 quoted Kadyrov as saying. “The Chechen Republic has accumulated significant experience in the fight against international terrorism, and the republic’s power structures are ready to render aid to fraternal Ingushetia.” It is worth noting that some observers believe Kadyrov is seeking to impose a political merger on Ingushetia (Chechnya Weekly, June 14 and May 24).