Zyazikov Denounces the Jamestown Foundation

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 8 Issue: 49

In an interview published on December 17 in the weekly magazine Kommersant-Vlast, Ingushetian President Murat Zyazikov said that the recent series of murders of ethnic Russians living in the republic was a “blow” aimed at the leadership of both Russia and Ingushetia, and specifically aimed at Ingushetia’s special program to bring back Russian-speakers who had left the republic.

Asked where the “blow” had come from, Zyazikov answered: “From abroad. Take, please, this fact. Some American organization by the name of the Jamestown Foundation holds a seminar in Washington on 28 November 2007 on ‘The Future of Ingushetia.’ The main speaker is a fugitive Maskhadovite, a certain Vatchagaev [the reference is to Mairbek Vatchagaev]. What business, one might ask, does Mr. Vatchagaev and his American guardians have with our republic’s affairs? Well, I know! They need a new area [of influence]. Their plans in Chechnya were defeated. Now they are looking for a new area [of influence]. They think they will find it in Ingushetia. Nothing will come of it!” Asked if he was trying to say that someone wants to unleash a new war, this time in Ingushetia, Zyazikov replied: “Absolutely right.”

In his interview with Kommersant-Vlast, Zyazikov called the claim by Ingushetiya.ru website proprietor Magomed Yevloev that only 6-8 percent of Ingushetia’s eligible voters turned out for the December 2 State Duma election (Chechnya Weekly, December 13) “nonsense,” adding that the turnout was “massive.” Ingushetia’s election commission put the turnout out at above 98 percent (Chechnya Weekly, December 6). Yevloev and others charged that Zyazikov’s siloviki were responsible for the abduction and beating of three REN TV journalists in Nazran just hours before an opposition rally in the city on November 24 (Chechnya Weekly, November 29). Zyazikov called these “ravings” by his enemies. Police in Nazran violently broke up the November 24 rally.

Zyazikov repeated his charges of a conspiracy by Washington during a December 18 press conference, Ingushetiya.ru reported, citing an account of the press conference filed by the Rosbalt news agency. “Behind the scenes, the fate of the people is decided by going against the people,” he said. “Therefore, when the Jamestown Foundation and White House campaigners recommend holding a demonstration in Nazran, we will look into it; we have our regional party committees. We have our vision, our world view, our ideology.”

Commenting on Zyazikov’s charges, Ingushetiya.ru stated in an editorial note on December 18: “Zyazikov is consciously lying in tying the Jamestown Foundation to the rally by the residents in Nazran, which are in no way connected to one another. The attempt to tie the U.S. administration with the events in Nazran looks so primitive that it does not even stay within the boundaries of logic. Driven to despair by corruption and lawlessness, the residents of Ingushetia don’t know that … ‘someone is controlling them.’ Zyazikov would really like that to be so, since dumping the errors and calamities of his rule on enemies across the ocean is somehow easier than imposing order and ceasing to plunder his people.”