Window on Eurasia: Zyazikov Fails to Block Ingush Appeal to Moscow for His Removal
Baku, March 12 – Murat Zyazikov, almost certainly the most hated ruler of a federal subject, again last weekend did everything he could over the weekend to prevent his Ingush subjects from assembling and issuing an appeal to Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev for his removal.
Zyazikov’s thuggish and illegal behavior in general and his use of force to limit a public demonstration on January 26 have attracted the attention of human rights activists in Moscow, but details are only now coming to light about his latest effort to silence his opponents and about how the Ingush population prevented him from succeeding.
In advance of the meeting, Zyazikov ordered the administrative detention of two of the organizers and on the eve of the conference, his minions sealed off the building claiming that they had found evidence of infectious germs, Gazeta reported yesterday (http://www.gzt.ru/politics/2008/03/10/220140.html).
Then, on Saturday, the day the extraordinary fifth congress of the Ingush people was to meet in the republic capital of Nazran, he called in militia and special military units from around the republic to prevent the 100 delegates who had been elected by the taips, the basic family-clan unit of that society, from assembling.
Unbroken and unbowed, the delegates assembled in nearby Karabulak, where despite their best efforts, Zyazikov’s men were not able to find them and make one last effort to disperse the session, possibly beating, arresting or, given their past actions, “disappear” some of them (http://www.ingushetiya.ru/news/13585.html).
The meeting approved a letter of congratulation to Medvedev on his election as president of the Russian Federation and an appeal to Medvedev and Putin to remove Zyazikov and bring him and his associates to justice. And one organizer indicated that the body may succeed in issuing additional documents in the coming days.
But the appeal to Putin and Medvedev is a truly inspiring document, the expression of a people who clearly feel that they have been driven to despair by a cruel and irresponsible government and yet who also remain convinced that the best way to proceed is not by violence but rather by argument and legal means.
This 1500-word document describes the way in which Zyazikov and his cronies have violated the Russian Constitution and laws with apparent impunity, thereby alienating the population and undercutting the effectiveness of the necessary campaign against extremism and terrorism (http://www.ingushetiya.ru/news/13584.html).
Moscow’s failure to take action against Zyazikov, the appeal says, “creates the impression among the people of Ingushetia that the central government of Russia does not have any mechanisms to influence the situation in the republic” or for some unknown reason does not want to.
It points out that “all attempts by the population of Ingushetia to enter into direct dialogue or interaction with the executive power of the republic … to express a protest against corruption and the violation of human rights have ended with repressive actions by M. Zyazikov, who has mobilized all the law enforcement organs to suppress peaceful demonstrations and assemblies.”
And the document ends with an appeal to Putin and Medvedev to “direct serious attention to the situation in the Republic of Ingushetia, to require the executive power of the republic to enter into dialogue with the population and to cooperate in the resolution of the most serious social-political and economic questions of the life of the region.”
To that end, “we ask you to send an independent commission” to the republic in order to “establish the extent of corruption and the false reporting about attitudes in the republic and to draw conclusions about the collapse of the economy …and a multitude of other negative phenomena which have flourished” under Zyazikov.
One of the organizers of the meeting added a comment to this which deserves being remembered. Magomed Khazbiyev told Ingushetiya.ru that Zyazikov and his command have “not been able to force the Ingush people to their knees.” He and his people “have misjudged the situation.”
“The people are no longer naive and will not allow themselves to be robbed, to be subject to murders and force from the side of the force structures. The people want to live according to the law and with Russia, but not with a band of corrupt people headed by Zyazikov” and followers (http://www.ingushetiya.ru/news/13582.html).
But if Zyazikov gets his way, no one may find out about his crimes or about the aspirations of the Ingush people: his prosecutors have appealed to the Russian Federation Supreme Court to shut down Ingushetiya.ru, the primary source of reliable information about that republic (http://www.ingushetiya.ru/news/13599.html).