Ingushetian President Murat Zyazikov on March 12 dismissed his cabinet, which is chaired by Ibragim Malsagov, as well as the republic’s local administration heads. Newsru.com reported that the dismissed cabinet will remain in place until a new one is formed and that First Vice-Premier Khov Yevloev will serve as the republican government’s acting chairman, replacing Malsagov.
“Today, new tasks in the sphere of state-legal construction, and also an increase of activity in carrying out reforms in the economic and social spheres, stand before us,” Interfax quoted Zyazikov as saying after dismissing the cabinet. He added that the “many successes” in the work of the government needed to be noted but that “some of the problems remain unsolved.” Referring to the March 2 election for Ingushetia’s legislature, the People’s Assembly, Zyazikov said: “Taking into consideration all democratic principles, a new parliament has been elected in the republic, and today we need to put more ambitious tasks before the bodies of power of Ingushetia.” He also said that “the government and parliament need to work in a regime of constant open exchange of opinions with the population in order to resolve urgent tasks more effectively.”
The opposition Ingushetiya.ru website quoted the political analyst Amir Yevloev as saying that Zyazikov’s dismissal of the cabinet and local administration heads was a public relations stunt and that no one will really lose their jobs. “There will be no changes, except that the minister of education [Ismail Tankiev], having become a deputy in the RI (Republic of Ingushetia) People’s Assembly, will be replaced,” Yevloev said. “The remaining ministers have paid the Ingush president bribes for their positions.”
Zyazikov’s move came just two days after an opposition “extraordinary congress of the Ingush people” sent an appeal to President Vladimir Putin and his successor Dmitry Medvedev, calling on them to impose order in the republic and “stop the tyranny of Zyazikov’s bureaucratic clique.” The appeal, which was posted on Ingushetiya.ru, stated that “the people of Ingushetia have the impression that the central authorities of Russia have no mechanisms of influence on the situation in the republic.” It continued: “The current leadership of Ingushetia, contrary to the constitution of the Russian Federation and all legislative acts, is engaged in terror and excess with respect to citizens – the tyranny of the power structures, corrupt officials and bribe-takers is thriving in the republic and unemployment has reached extreme limits, yet officials from the central apparatus [in Moscow] make claims about ‘Ingushetia’s dynamic development’.”
The appeal also stated that instances of kidnapping apparently carried out by the special services have not been investigated and are “collecting dust in the safes of investigators.” It also stated that excesses committed by the special services during their operations in Ingushetia have not only failed to improve the criminal situation in the republic, but in fact worsened it. “During the past three years, crimes committed by unidentified person with goals of destroying property with the use of firearms, explosive devices, hand grenades, grenade launcher and other weapons have increased by many times,” the appeal read.
Meanwhile, Kavkazky Uzel reported on March 12 that a support group for Maksharip Aushev, an organizer of the January 26 opposition rally in Nazran that was forcibly disbursed by riot police (Chechnya Weekly, January 31), plans to hold a series of protests in Ingushetia and other parts of Russia to demand that he and other opposition activists be released from jail. The protesters also plan to condemn corruption and express no confidence in Murat Zyazikov. According to the website, one such protest is set to take place in April. Maksharip Aushev was reportedly arrested in Nazran on February 13 (Chechnya Weekly, February 14).
Meanwhile, the security situation in Ingushetia remains problematic. Interfax reported on March 12 that law-enforcement bodies in Ingushetia had carried out a “counter-terrorist operation” in the village of Troitskaya and that one militant had been killed. “An armed man resisted law-enforcement personnel who were conducting a counter-terrorist operation in the village of Troitskaya, opening fire on them with automatic weapons,” a source in the headquarters of the Temporary Group of Forces told the news agency. “A bandit was killed in crossfire when he tried to leave one of the private homes [where he had been] hiding from members of the law-enforcement bodies. Newsru.com identified the slain militant as Rustam Mutsolgov, a 21-year-old Troitskaya resident.
According to investigators, Mutsolgov was suspected of having carried out “sabotage-terrorist actions” against federal forces, possibly including an armed attack on a Defense Ministry unit based in Troitskaya on March 9 that killed a Russian serviceman. Rustam Mutsolgov’s sister, Zarema, was reportedly also located in the private home at the time of the special operation. Kavkazky Uzel quoted witnesses as saying that neither Mutsolgov nor his sister mounted armed resistance but had simply tried to flee. According to the website, Rustam Mutsolgov, who did not have a regular job but did construction work, was considered religious, as were his wife, sister and mother. The family moved from Karabulak more than a year ago.
Kavkazky Uzel reported that Rustam Mutsolgov was neither on the federal wanted list nor accused of any crimes. However, his older brother, Zaur Mutsolgov, is serving a 25-year prison term for allegedly participating in the rebel attack on law-enforcement targets in Ingushetia that took place on June 22, 2004. Mutsolgov’s sister Zarema was the wife of Ibragim Gardanov, aka Adam, who was killed by security forces in February 2007.
Interfax reported on March 9 that unidentified gunmen in a VAZ-2115 car fired on KamAZ truck in Troitskaya, killing a contract serviceman named Oleg Nikitin. Another serviceman who was in the truck at the time it was attacked was unharmed.
A second attack on a Defense Ministry post in Troitskaya took place on March 10 when unidentified gunmen fired automatic weapons at a guard-post located roughly 150 meters from the control-admission station for the 503rd Motorized Infantry Regiment of the Defense Ministry’s 58th Army. According to Interfax, the servicemen returned fire and the attackers withdrew. None of the servicemen was hurt.
RIA Novosti reported on March 8 that additional troops from federal Interior Ministry’s Interior Troops had been deployed in Nazran along with armored personnel carriers. The news agency quoted sources inside Ingushetia’s leadership as saying that units permanently deployed in Ingushetia had been deployed in Nazran to bolster security in connection with the holiday (an apparent reference to International Women’s Day). However, Agence France-Presse quoted Ingush opposition politician Magomed Khazbiev as telling Echo Moskvy radio that the troops were closing off Nazran in order to prevent delegates from attending a planned opposition congress. “They were stopped and no one has been able to get through to the building where the congress is meant to take place,” he said.