Latynina on Aushev

The Killled him but He walks Among us

Yulia Latynina

October 26, 2009

Yezhednevny Zhurnal

Translated from the Russian by The Other Russia

On Sunday, October 25, 2009, in the North Caucasian city of Nalchik, one of the most influential people in the Republic of Ingushetia was killed – Maksharip Aushev; the killers peppered his car with machine guns. It happened on the day after Maksharip appeared on Marianna Maksimovskaya’s REN TV news show and gave a piercing indictment of former republic president Murat Zyazikov.

“Nobody has established yet who to suspect,” said Yakhya Aushev, Maksharip’s father. “You could get bogged down in the fact that he just recently was speaking out against Zyazikov. Not long ago, a team from REN TV was photographing their [the Zyazikovs'] mansions, and there was an incident with Ruslanbek Zyazikov. It was as if there were forces hunting him down.”

Ruslanbek Zyazikov is the cousin and former chief security detail of former president Zyazikov.

“I have a feeling it’s because of us,” says Marianna Maksimovskaya. “Maksharip saved our film crew literally ten days ago.”

Leonid Kanfer’s film crew was shooting a story in Ingushetia on the corruption of the former president. Among other things, they filmed their mansions in the village of Barsuki. When the film crew returned to the hotel, armed men came for them.

“They beat up the driver. Ruslanbek Zyazikov beat him personally,” said Maksimovskaya. “Our journalists called Maksharip, he arrived by himself, drew out a Stechkin [automatic pistol], and in Ruslanbek’s eyes brought out our cameraman and correspondent to the presidential administration, where they their testimony was taken.”

On Maksimovskaya’s program, Maksharip had said that the republic’s old leadership gave money to militants and sabotaged the actions of the new president; he gave as an example the fate of Construction Minister Ruslan Amerkhanov. According to Maksharip, he was appointed by new president Yevkurov and shot in his own office after refusing to continue business as usual.

Two hours after Maksharip’s murder, a rerun was aired of “The Week with Marianna Maksimovskaya.” “They killed a man, but he walks among us here on film.”

Two people managed to remove former President Zyazikov: the first owner of Ingushetia.ru, Magomed Yevloyev, and the second owner of the site, Maksharip Aushev. Both are dead.

Warnings and Tanks

The site Ingushetiaru.org had reported on September 12 about plans to murder Maksharip. “The would-be murder was commissioned to a member of one of the ORB-2 units to be committed at the moment of Aushev’s departure outside the republic,” the site asserted [ORB-2 (Operations and Search Bureau) is a federal police bureau in Chechnya accused of flagrant and widespread violations of the law, including torture of civilian detainees].

Maksharip was stopped three days later on September 15 at the post office, alongside which stood federal BTR tanks and Gazelle light trucks. Men from the BTR attempted to apprehend Maksharip, but were beat off by friends and chance bystanders – including the vice chairman of the government of the republic.

Having barely escaped, Maksharip phoned the president of the republic, Yunus-bek Yevkurov. The president called the security forces to a meeting the next day. It became clear that the BTR had been placed so as to not fall within view of any cameras. However, authorities now assert that had been a routine security check, and that Maksharip, who had been warned about plans of an attempt on his life, simply lost his nerves. Furthermore, he for some reason presented the Russian inspectors with his son’s identification, and not his own.

Forty days later he was shot.

How Maksharip Became Engaged in Politics

Maksharip Aushev was not a professional politician. He became engaged in politics after a “death squad” abducted his nephew Magomed on June 17, 2007. Magomed was taken out to the forest, tortured by being shot point-blank while standing in a waist-deep hole (first being outfitted with two bulletproof vests), and then freed upon signing an agreement of cooperation. Instead of cooperating, Magomed submitted a written statement to the prosecutor’s office.

After that, Magomed was of course doomed, and was abducted once again on September 18, 2007. As he had been together in the car with Maksharip’s son – his cousin – both were abducted.

They were tortured for several hours in the Chechnyan village of Goyty, and afterwards brought to the mountains for “snickers” – a practice in which a murdered corpse is bound with explosives and blown up; animals eat up the scattered pieces of meat, and the person disappears without a trace.

While they were being tortured, however, Maksharip assembled a rally in the city of Nazran. The authorities spooked and freed the Aushev boys.

Maksharip began to investigate who had abducted his son and nephew, and determined that it was Urus-Martan District Department of Interior Ministry Chief Ramzan Dzhamalkhanov, who it appears was acting on order of the Ingush Interior Minister Musa Medov – in any event, it was after a personal phone call from Medov to Dzhamalkhanov that the boys were freed.

Whatever the relationship was between the Aushev family and regional militants (and at that time, thanks to the activity of president Zyazikov and his “death squads,” the militants had sympathy or approval from practically everyone besides their targets), it is important to note that Maksharip was actually a legal oppositionist. He did not run off to search through the forest; he investigated the kidnapping of his son, made the results public, and demanded the resignation of Zyazikov. He did what befits a father and a man, and he would not have gotten into politics if politics had not gotten into him.

In the Caucasus, where yesterday’s terrorists now lead anti-terrorism detachments, where family ties mean more than beliefs, and reputation means even more than family ties, Maksharip was one of the central figures in negotiations between the authorities and the militants; or at that time, if I may, between the authorities and the people.

As a legal oppositionist, Maksharip was a thorn in the side of the authorities. He was arrested on February 14, 2008, and the circumstances of this arrest were truly fantastical. Several dozen people accompanied by two BTR tanks arrived at Aushev’s village of Surkhakh, incinerated the house of his brother with a grenade launcher, and sat in wait for Maksharip to arrive on the scene. Maksharip did come, but so many people were with him that the men decided not to arrest him. They sat in ambush until evening, when Maksharip returned alone.

The authorities, however, made a strategic mistake: they had not dared to kill Maksharip immediately upon his arrest. The plan fell to pieces. This mistake was corrected for the following notorious murder – that of Maksharip’s friend and ally, Ingushetia.ru owner Magomed Yevloyev.

The Murder of Magomed Yevloyev

On August 31, 2008, Ingushetia.ru owner Magomed Yevloyev few from Moscow to Ingushetia and by accidental coincidence wound up sitting in business class with President Zyazikov.

A quarrel arose between Zyazikov and Yevloyev, and Yevloyev left for a different cabin. According to the investigation undertaken by Yevloyev’s relatives, President Zyazikov called his chief of security and cousin Ruslanbek Zyazikov immediately after the argument and ordered him to take care of Magomed.

Ruslanbek then set out to find Ibragim Yevloyev, chief of security for Interior Minister Musa Medov, who had been at a wedding at the house of Medov’s uncle. Ruslanbek, Musa and Ibragim met Magomed Yevloyev at the airport; Magomed was dragged out of the cabin and put in a Volga armored car.

Seeing what was going on, Yevloyev’s armed followers – who were also Aushev’s – took off after him, but went for the wrong part of the motorcade. They were able to cut two armored Volgas away from the motorcade, dragged out Medov’s guards, and began to beat them. They cried out that “the blood is not on us!” which Aushev thought referred to the guards’ previously victims. In fact, it referred to Magomed Yevloyev. It seems that Ibragim Yevloyev shot Magomed in cold blood in the temple even before the motorcade left the airport.

The investigation of this murder itself became possible when the victim’s father, Yakhya Yevloyev, declared blood vengeance on Zyazikov. Almost immediately, participants of the murder, including the chief of police and President Zyazikov himself, came out of the woodwork and began dumping blame for the crime on each other. Topping of the list of Yevloyev’s murderers, published on Ingushetia.org, is Ingush President Murat Zyazikov.

Ten days after Magomed Yevloyev’s murder, Ruslan Zyazikov’s brother Bekkhan was shot by unknown assailants. It is important to note that Ruslan Zyazikov is the son of Uruskhan Zyazikov, who was kidnapped by militants on March 23, 2007. It was precisely after this abduction that “death squads” began abducting anyone who could possibly be to blame. A five million dollars ransom was apparently paid for Uruskhan.

The murder of Magomed Yevloyev was more than the Kremlin could tolerate. Zyazikov was removed two months later, and named in his place was Yunus-bek Yevkurov.

Yevkurov’s Appointment

That there is disorder and lawlessness in Ingushetia has long since been obvious. But the depth of the rot that was discovered when Yevkurov’s took office simply cannot be described. Ingushetia.org reported, for example, on the following incident: in December of last year in the central mosque of Nazran, around three thousand people had gathered, demanding that Ruslanbek Zyazikov return stolen budget money and swear on the Koran that he had not given the money to militants. Ruslanbek did not go to the mosque, but he did admit to a crowd that showed up outside his house that he had paid militants thirty million rubles a month to not harm his relatives.

The strategy of the new president was utterly severe: forgive those who may be forgiven, and kill those who had ought to be killed. And no corruption.

Yevkurov’s strategy split the opposition. Oppositionist Kaloy Akhilgov became press secretary for the new president. But oppositionist Magomed Khazbiev, a close friend of Maksharip, continued to indict Yevkurov as a murderer.

The strategy split not only the opposition, but also the militants and the security forces. Paradoxically, these latter two implacable opponents had one thing in common: they both favored a continuation of uncontrolled violence – the militants, because it builds a base for Islamic revolution, and the security forces, because it makes it so easy to earn stars for one’s uniform. They, as well as others still, needed for the deciding tool in the republic to be the axe of the slaughterer, not the knife of the surgeon. For them, violence that was targeted or deemed necessary would not be sufficient.

If militants have left Zyazikov untouched (which you’d figure, for 30 million rubles a month), then Yevkurov, having taken it upon himself to root out corruption and uncontrolled violence, now faces assassination attempts that have befallen him as if from a bucket. The first of these attempts was preceded by a fully incomprehensible – but undoubtedly very historically important – special operation on December 6, 2008. On that day in the town of Barsuki, another Magomed Aushev (please excuse the abundance of Aushevs in this story), right-hand man of the chief of Ingush militants in the village of Magas, was killed. Although actually, while Aushev was thought to be dead, he was really hiding in Barsuki (Zyazikov’s native city). He also at that time apparently had negotiations with President Yevkurov concerning possible surrender, as well as about a meeting that Maksharip Aushev would mediate.

Because of these negotiations, word spread by phone that Magomed Aushev had been killed by federal troops, who subsequently killed his brother Adam. Militants grabbed hold of the incident to blame the “kafir and apostates” of Yevkurov in the entire matter, and assassination attempts came one after another. It was a miracle that the heavily wounded Yevkurov survived after guards dragged him from his blazing car in June.

While Yevkurov lay in the hospital, a suicide bomber blew up a local police station in Nazran. The terrorist act shocked the Kremlin. Medvedev fired then-new Ingush Police Chief Meyriev and appointed Deputy Interior Minister Arkady Yedelev as coordinator for all security agencies in the Caucasus. The appointment was very strange, considering the reputation Yedelev enjoyed in the Caucasus. He is considered a man close to Chechen President Kadyrov and a patron of Musa Medov, that same former Ingush Chief of Police who figures in at number two after President Zyazikov on the list of Magomed Yevloyev’s murderers.

The murder of Maksharip Aushev is testimony to the fact that, aside from obvious discrepancies between Ingush President Yevkurov and the militants on the creation of a Caucasus Emirate, there exists another less obvious but very deep discrepancy between President Yevkurov and part of the former elite – the part wanting violence and impunity.

The murder of Maksharip Aushev is not one of those murders where everything is immediately clear. Like Yakhya Yevloyev, father of the murdered Magomed, said to me on Sunday: “Tomorrow, information should come out.” But this is a landmark murder. Whether or not President Yevkurov can find Maksharip Aushev’s murderers will determine who is in control of the republic. And for Yevkurov, this question is one of life and death – politically and literally.

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34 responses to “Latynina on Aushev

  1. Yesterday nearly one more Kadyrov-foe was killed in Moscow,Isa Yamadayev! His armoured car safed him in a staged car-accident,which turned out to be an assassination attempt against him. Let´s recall,that Kadyrov promised to kill Isa months ago. Kadyrov also killed Aushev!!!

    http://dagestan.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/161477/
    http://www.kavkazcenter.com/eng/content/2009/10/28/11132.shtml

  2. This is my dilemma. While I realize that Russia has completely mismanaged the Caucasus republics, I can’t help but think that these people are simply ungovernable. If they try to hold onto them, there will be horror and disaster, but if they let them go… there will be horror and disaster. If someone wants to disagree with me and give me a good solution, I’m perfectly happy to listen, but good god.

    • I strongly disaigree that if they let them go there will be horror and disaster. What is causing biggest horror in Northern Caucasus is Russia desperately trying to hold on to what is not theirs. Solution to the problem is to gve this people their well deserved freedom and stop Russian terror in Caucasus.

    • The British had the same view of the American colonies regarding their freedom: “there will be horror and disaster.”

      Some would argue there was, but not those who love freedom and democracy.

      • True, but on the other hand the American colonies were not largely run by religious extremists trying to impose a theocratic law.

        The bottom line is that if the Caucasus are truly to enter the freedom and prosperity they deserve, we must not only force Moscow out, but we must also overthrow the Islamists who have commandeered the rebel cause.

        Only then can they truly be free.

        I agree with Kate. I hope the Caucasus can throw off the shackles of Russian tyranny, but I fear that they will fall victim to the allure of a native grown tyranny advocated by some demogauge like Ho Chi Mihn or Bin Laden.

        Only time will tell.

    • This is all the result of Russian policies there.

      I think a good solution would be an international decolonization project in the region (but a better one than the recent UN nation-building efforts such as in Kosovo and East Timor).

      In the early 1990s Dudayev proposed to establish a confederacy of Caucasian nations, but even the Ingushes did not want to be dominated by the Chechens and they peacefully split from Chechenoingushetia and joined the Russian Federation in 1992 (of course there were also other reasons for this, maybe even more important).

      And the Caucasian Emirate is of course a very bad idea, they want to be more Islamic and less democratic even than Iran or Saudi Arabia (that is not democratic at all). Especially I don’t like things like how they plan to basically oppress even the Christian majority of North Ossetia. They’re like Taliban-lite, even one Ingush rebel group is named Taliban.

  3. russia is creating this horror throught it´s criminal Mafia-puppets like Kadyrov. The Caucasian Emirate,governed by modern Sharia Law and Doka Umarov,a more or less pro-western islamic leader,is the solution! No democracy,but also no middle-age Al-Qaida Emirate! The real Sharia Law is nothing bad! The Taliban and Al Qaida have betrayed Qoran,Karzai and all other so called islamic leaders do the same! Please look videos of the caucasian mujahideen in the Internet,there are dozens of them! You will see a much more human athmosphere among them than among the Taliban or the Kadyrovites or the russian soldiers etc…….

    • Sharia law is not the solution, Northern Caucasus countries needs to establish democratic, Western Governments. West is the best hope North Caucasus has for independence and establishing Sharia laws will drive Western supporters away. Chechnya having sharia laws works in advantage of Russia, and against their bid for independence.

      • Well let me make it clear in advantage as in their delusional quest of being an imperical power, in fact holding on to foreign countries in distant lands :Northern Caucasus and occupying it in 21st century is extremely damaging for Russia, it would in fact be in their great advantage to give republic of Northern Caucasus freedom.

    • One question, Salman: what precisely does “modern sharia law” mean?

      And what will happen to ethnic and religious minorities who remain in the Caucasus because they identify themselves as Caucasians first and foremost? How will they fare under “modern sharia law?”

      I have no issue with the Caucasus being a Muslim-majority nation-indeed, in this day and age, it may well be a large blessing-, but the key question remains that the first test of a nation is how it deals with minorities, and theocratic law has generally failed that test miserably.

  4. http://www.watchdog.cz/index.php?show=000000-000024-000007-000002&lang=1&bold=umarov

    PW: How will the future Caucasus Muslim State be organized?

    D. U.: Wherever there are people, there are laws. The law is a dictatorship. Those who must bear arms will bear them, those who must lay them down will lay them down. Some will occupy themselves with creation, while those who are to be punished will be punished. This is called Dar-us-salam. There’s no need to reduce the Islamic way of life to that of the cave. In the Islamic state there will be both civil structures and law-enforcement structures. Everyone will be free to develop the talents they have been granted by God. All this it set out for Muslims in the Koran. Even Christians borrow all the healthy aspects of their lives from the Koran. The basis of our ideas about life is Islam, and we are not building a society of chaos. After all, in the end everyone on the planet is destined to live according to the Islamic view of the world.

  5. “In the Islamic state there will be both civil structures and law-enforcement structures. Everyone will be free to develop the talents they have been granted by God. All this it set out for Muslims in the Koran.”

    This statement is the key,it´s democracy,true? But without chaos like in some western cities with drugs,Aids,gangs and prostitution. Not to mention the cloake called “russia”. This is ruining you. We tried to have western democracy between 1997-99! The result of this freedom was,that criminal FSB-paid gangs like the Kadyrov-clan and the Yamadayev-clan were able to kidnap people,to kill foreigners and then to blame it on Arby Barayev etc… It doesn´t work,because this kind of freedom is only a freedom for criminals. You need both,freedom,but also a strong society with rules for everyone

  6. BTR is a wheeled APC.

  7. And GAZ Gazelle is a microbus.

  8. @It is important to note that Ruslan Zyazikov is the son of Uruskhan Zyazikov, who was kidnapped by militants on March 23, 2007.

    Murat Zyazikov’s uncle.

    @While Yevkurov lay in the hospital, a suicide bomber blew up a local police station in Nazran.

    The main police station in Nazran (which is the largest city). Using a Gazelle van, btw.

  9. Turtler and Kate, I don’t completely agree with you. If i’m not mistaken, sharia law only applies to Muslims, therefore non-Muslims are not affected by it. Most Westerners associate sharia with barbaric practices in Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia such as mutilating thieves or stoning women to death. But sharia is a broader system of rules that also has a social justice component, and it can be interpreted in many different ways.

    While as a non-religious person I’m also skeptical of theocracy, I think we have to approach the situation in the Caucasus in pragmatic terms. Most of the people in the North Caucasus are Muslims, and religion is a rallying point against oppression. An Islamic North Caucasus, even with socially conservative values, is infinitely preferable to the current situation. But these people are fighting primarily for freedom and independence, we shouldn’t associate them with Al-Qaeda or the Taliban.

    Despite what Islamophobes and bigots will tell us, Europe and the US have no conflict of interest with Islam, quite the contrary. And it’s in our interest to support the emancipation of occupied Muslim peoples in totalitarian countries like Russia and China.

    • Some recent analysis:

      In recent weeks some of the websites of the clandestine Caucasus Emirate have posted videos and new ordinances by Dokka Umarov (Amir Abu Usman, the Emirate’s autocratic leader) which permit one to speculate on the possible ways in which a virtual North Caucasus Islamic theocracy might be established.

      http://www.watchdog.cz/?show=000000-000024-000004-000004&lang=1

      From part 2 of this article:

      Let us turn our attention to the following passage in one of Umarov’s recent statements: speaking of the revival of the jamaat of “our dear brother Shamil”, the “emir” mentions two of his successful operations, the second of which “was carried out by our mujahedin on Russian territory, in the city of Vladikavkaz.” On Caucasus Emirate websites this city has until recently been called the administrative centre of the “Vilayet of Iriston”. If what is being referred to is the terrorist attack which took place in the North Ossetian capital last year and resulted in the deaths of twelve civilians, it is hard to see these words as anything other than the legitimatization of the murder of peaceful citizens of the rebels’ own state – for according to the concepts of law espoused by the leaders of the North Caucasus resistance, the victims of the attack were citizens of the Caucasus Emirate.

      Thus, by viewing their theoretical compatriots as “permitted” targets for attack whose only “guilt” is their forced participation in the activities of Russia’s state institutions, the Caucasus Emirate “emirs” are embarking upon the path already traversed by the Salafist leaders of the Algerian factions.

      At first sight it might seem that the civil war in Algeria and the low-level conflict in the North Caucasus have little in common – in the case of the former there can be no talk of a liberation movement whose aim was to shed the imperial colonial yoke. Yet strangely enough, the speeches of the AIG “emirs” were also characterized by anti-colonial rhetoric. Like any analogy, however, the parallels with Algeria are not absolute – the nature of the French presence in the country, which for was for the most part cultural and linguistic, cannot be compared with the involvement of the Russian Federation in Chechen affairs, which has a quite tangible and material embodiment.

      If the Caucasus Emirate were a real state, its political structure, established by the new decree of Dokka Umarov, could be described as an absolute theocratic monarchy with consultative institutions. Viewed in the context of the Islamic states of the last century, its closest counterparts are the Zaidi Imamate of the three Hamid al-Dinovs in Yemen (which fell as a result of an army revolt in 1962), and the Ibadi Imamate of Oman, which was restored in the second half of the nineteenth century and defeated in 1959 by troops of the Sultanate of Muscat with the help of a British expeditionary force.

      However, Dokka Umarov’s decree renders problematic any attempt to speculate about how the Emirate would look on the political map of the North Caucasus. “Omra No. 14” abolishes the Vilayet of Ossetia (which has more than 700,000 inhabitants) and includes it in the Vilayet of Ingushetia (circa 500,000 inhabitants), the mujahideen now operating on the republic’s territory being required to transfer themselves under the command of “Emir Magas” (Akhmed Yevloyev).

      It is clear that even in theory it would be hard to imagine the mainly Russian Orthodox North Ossetia becoming part of the theocratic state of the mujahideen. Its allocation to a special “Vilayet of Iriston” emphasized, as it were, the universal Islamic nature of the clandestine Emirate, one that sets it apart from any narrow conception of Vainakh identity.

      Regardless of what such an “amalgamation policy” may symbolize — a complete detachment from reality or, conversely, a desire to gain more support in Ingushetia, which has long been a major bridgehead for the mujahideen – the fact remains that along with the “abolished” Vilayet of Iriston the Caucasus Emirate is losing the last of the features which made it possible for it to be seen even as a potential state.

      http://www.watchdog.cz/?show=000000-000024-000004-000005&lang=1

  10. And as for “terrorism” we have to be realistic and accept the fact that extreme situations demand extreme responses. If Russian cops or soldiers burst into your house, kill your parents and rape your wife (a frequent scenario), what are you supposed to do, file a petition? Or take up arms and kill every motherf**ker you can?

    And the current strategy of low-intensity guerrilla warfare is a much better strategy than a full-on insurrection. Making every soldier, cop or collaborator fair game undermines the morale of the occupiers and strikes fear into the hearts of rank-and-file cops and soldiers. The cops with any degree of humanity or sanity will quit their jobs, while the others are better off dead anyway.

    • A. I agree with you that of course having indepenent Caucasus with Sharia law is much better than what is currently happening there. However my poin is that Sharia laws are often assosicaited with extrimism and fundamentalism and since Northern Caucasus is fighting for independence and only real support can come from West, I think it is in their advantage if they emphasize on establishing free democratic government rather than this talk about Sharia law.

      Yes, I agree that when Russian forces come into your home rape your women, abduct your children etc etc. of cousre you will want to fight back somehow. I think people of Northern Caucasus have shown they are extraordinarily brave and couragous in their resistance to brutal Russian occupation.

      • Kate, you’re right that sharia does not look good for PR if the insurgents try to enlist Western help, but you have to be realistic: there will be no Western help regardless of whether the insurgents call themselves liberal democrats or Islamists. In the 90s Western public opinion was mostly sympathetic to Chechen independence, but did the West lift a finger to prevent the genocide in Chechnya?

        So I think the insurgents are right in focusing less on PR, and more on a pragmatic and effective military strategy. The low-intensity warfare they engage in will eventually lead to the North Caucasus becoming ungovernable. The barbarism and brutality of Russian occupiers works against them, as it only pushes more and more people to the rebel cause. So eventually the Russians will have such a mess that nobody will want to be deployed there (it’s one thing to just run around raping women and robbing houses, it’s quite another to risk getting killed for it).

        And another thing to keep in mind is that cowardice has historically been *the* essential characteristic of Russian military behavior; throughout their history, Russians have only gone to war when the odds were overwhelmingly in their favor, and their “bravery” is only manifested against unarmed civilians. So by picking Russian soldiers and cops one by one, and making it clear that everybody is fair game, their morale can be easily broken.

        • A.:

          In a hypothetic situation:

          Are you going to beenthusiastic about, let’s say, hardline communist insurgency against a fascist dictatorship? Or vice-versa?

          The Ingush people are largely either sympathetic or indifferent for the rebels only because of the police brutality and the death squads in particular (in addition to poverty and corruption), that’s for sure. But I’m also sure they mostly just don’t want to be governed by a bunch of mostly very young religious fanatics, who don’t plan to ask anyone for their opinion anyway – even in North Ossetia.

          Also,

          @So eventually the Russians will have such a mess that nobody will want to be deployed there (it’s one thing to just run around raping women and robbing houses, it’s quite another to risk getting killed for it).

          Well you had plenty of kontraktniki volunteerily signing up for Chechnya tourism even when it was the most dangerous there (many Russians killed every day). Because it was also the best time for massive and organized looting/armed robbery/rape sprees (affecting entire villages and cities) and they were getting “combat bonuses” for this too. So no, it’s not working this way. And when frustrated with heavy losses and such they would go vent off their anger on the civs by just killing random people. So yeah, it worked just just fine, what a great thing for the local population.

  11. Kate, are you for real. It appears to me that you will accept any violation of anyones civil rights as long as it does not affect you personally.

    Democracy will not save you, simply because it is by it’s own definition “mob rule”.

    Sharia will not save you, by it’s very definition it is “inclusive” and does not include you.

    A representative republic is the only control an indivudual has over government. When you speak of democracy, I cringe, and hope you are not that ignorant.

    “Any individual that surrenders their freedom for security deserves neither.”

    • seanquixote, “Kate, are you for real. It appears to me that you will accept any violation of anyones civil rights as long as it does not affect you personally”

      I’m sorry but how did you reach that conclusion? When have I said anything that would indicaite that? I think that North Caucasus needs to focus on building democratic nations and not authoritatian sharia islamist countries.

      A. I’m afraid Chechnya can not afford another war with Russia for a small nations like Chechnya and Ingushetia they are under the thret of extermination if they fight another war. I hope you’re right and they will manage to drive Russia out forever and Russia will be forced to give up before last Chcehcen is dead.

  12. In order to restate the obvious, democracy is not the idol to worship.

    Democracy is the false idol that took china from independance to indifference back to dependance within one generation.

    Democracy is not what you think it is.

  13. Meanwhile in Chechnya, followers of deceased “Heroes of Russia” Yamadayevs (from the GRU gang) tried to assassinate the “Chechen President-Hero of Russia” (from the FSB gang):

    “(…) That was already the second recent report about an averted attempt on the life of Ramzan Kadyrov (www.kommersant.ru, October 24). According to Interfax, on the evening of October 22, a housing estate was completely destroyed in a special operation in Grozny. Four bodies were found in the rubble (two men and two women). All those killed were presented as combatants who had been preparing explosives for an attack against Kadyrov. It was just a continuation of the operation conducted in Grozny on the previous day. In the course of these operations, again according to the authorities, the emir of Gudermes, Saidemi Khizriev, was killed
    (www.lenta.ru, October 22). The slain Khizriev was better known not as a fighter, but as one of Sulim Yamadaev’s people. Most probably the information about those killed in Grozny was received after the detention of someone close to the Sulim Yamadaev group, who knew the group’s plans all too well. It was precisely his tip that helped to locate the other members of the group who were preparing an armed attack on Ramzan Kadyrov. So, despite the murder of Sulim Yamadaev and the utter defeat of his group (http://studies.agentura.ru/tr/russia/sk/chechnya), his people remain potentially dangerous for Kadyrov and are not ceasing their attempts to inflict a strike in retaliation for the death of their leader.”

  14. And btw this North Caucasus emirate thingy, Kadyrov’s “parliament speaker” Abdurakhmanov just formally dissolved it by the means of… his own decree. ;)

    What else esteemed Mr Abdurakhmanov did recently? Well, certainly more serious was this:

    Meanwhile, the plight of “Kommersant” journalist Muradov gives serious grounds for concern in light of the still unresolved murder three years ago of Anna Politkovskaya, whose fearless coverage of events in Chechnya cost her her life. Abdurakhmanov denounced Muradov as “a scoundrel and a traitor to the Chechen people” who “has committed a crime against Chechen history.”

  15. Sharia law is not the solution. We have too many examples of sharia law states where that “law” brought horror, misery,killings of innocent people and no way out of it.
    And, Sean, democracy is not perfect. Nothing is. But it works very well and it is the best system there is so far.

  16. Robert, you’re right that replacing one form of authoritarianism with another is not always the best idea, but let’s be realistic: the Islamists are the only ones actively fighting the Russian occupation, so they deserve support. Just as the Allies rightfully supported the Communist Partisans in Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia, and the US supported the mujahedeen in Afghanistan in the 80s. Even a theocracy would be better than the current situation in the Caucasus. But once the Russians are driven out of the Caucasus, the idea of a theocratic Islamic federation might lose its appeal, so things might develop towards a more secular or democratic direction.

  17. October 30, 2009 marked the first anniversary of the day on which Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree “On the early termination of the powers of the president of the Republic of Ingushetia”. This legal document brought to an end the political career of Ingushetia’s second president, Murat Zyazikov, who had held the post since April 2002. At the same time, Medvedev’s decree gave a start to another career – that of Yunus-Bek Yevkurov. On October 31 2008 the republic’s parliament confirmed a military officer none too well known to the general public, the deputy chief of staff for the Volga-Urals Military District (PUrVO), in the post of President of Ingushetia.

    During his first year as president Yevkurov had quite a number of successes. He moved the acute problem of the republic’s Prigorodny district onto the level of a constructive negotiating process. To this end he invited Mukharbek Aushev, an experienced businessman and political figure, to be Ingushetia’s de facto ambassador to North Ossetia (the president’s representative in the neighbouring republic). The Ingush government withdrew its demand for the return of the area that had once been part of the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (ChIASSR), and also renounced its claim to a “special regime of government” there. At the same time Yevkurov revived the issue of the return of internally displaced persons to the Prigorodny villages where they had lived before the 1992 conflict. For the first time in the post-Soviet period the problem of the “ethnic ownership of the land” was replaced by another approach, one that sought to ensure equal civil and human rights in the disputed territory.

    When Yevkurov, a personnel officer and paratroop colonel who had taken part in the famous Russian grab for Pristina, took up office a year ago, he made it his special business to restore public confidence in the Ingush government. For the most part, his behaviour as head of the republic was not typical of North Caucasus leaders. For example, immediately after his confirmation by Parliament he refused to take part in a ceremonial inauguration, justifying his decision on economic grounds. During his first two months in office Yevkurov opened a dialogue with community leaders and human rights activists and undertook preparations for a Congress of the Ingush People. Many prominent secular opposition figures (whose criticism of the authorities was based within the framework of the Russian legal system) announced that they were calling off their struggle and talked of the need for constructive cooperation with the authorities. Until the autumn of 2008, the radicalization of the secular opposition and the loyalist part of the opposition spectrum had been quite real. And it is doubtful whether it would have added much stability to the smallest of the North Caucasian republics.

    However, it would be wrong to cast the third president of Ingushetia in the role of a “human rights defender in uniform”. Yevkurov did not remove the issue of counter-terrorism from the agenda. . On the contrary, he repeatedly called for more effective counter-terrorist measures (though sometimes his views on the nature of terrorism were striking in their oversimplification, and especially in their assumption that the United States and Israel played a decisive role in destabilizing the republic). But the Ingush president, as a military man with experience of peacekeeping in the Balkans, was well aware that only the support of public opinion can legitimize the use of force by the authorities. The indulgence of the federal centre alone (on which Zyazikov and many his colleagues relied) is not enough. Hence the need for dialogue with the public and with civil society. The second problem is the effectiveness of security measures and their use strictly within the limits of the law – the point on which a state may differentiate itself from the organizers of terrorism and sabotage.

    At the same time it would be at the very least naive to expect Yevkurov to achieve a full and final reconciliation of all with all. For on thing, too many mistakes were made in the republic before him, and for another the scale of the problems that have emerged in Ingushetia during the post-Soviet period have demanded (and continue to demand) the attention of the federal centre and its resources and capabilities. Ingushetia has no large cities, and all the aspects of its social infrastructure are poorly developed. Less than half (42.5%) of the population live in cities, of which there are only four. The republic’s four rural districts contain only 37 rural settlements, but their average population is very high – 7,480. This figure is 25 times greater than the average population size of Russia’s rural settlements as a whole. Almost three-quarters of Ingushetia’s population live on 10% of the republic’s territory – in the Sunzha Valley and surrounding areas. It is obvious that all these problems cannot be solved with the resources of a small republic dependent on subsidies from the Russian state. Especially against the backdrop of the forced restoration of neighbouring Chechnya and the partially recognized South Ossetia, both financed out of the federal budget.

    The same thing applies to the strategy of the fight against terrorism. Without a concerted position on the building of a common strategy for the North Caucasus (in which Ingushetia will be grouped together with Dagestan, Chechnya, and the western part of the Caucasus), any “new approaches” in a single republic will have only limited success. Moreover, the assassination attempt on Yevkurov by militants in June this year revealed an unpleasant fact: in the fight against the militants, the liberalization of the republican regime does not work. On the other hand, the more subtle fight against terrorism is far more dangerous to them, since active counter-terrorist measures coupled with an effective dialogue between government and society deprive the organizers of the “great upheavals” of their moral arguments. For the latter, the artless brandishing of police batons is much more agreeable, because together with an increase in torture and arbitrary violence it increases the number of disaffected citizens and creates a copious reserve of the “knights of TNT”.

    As we can see today, it was the June assassination attempt that slowed down Yevkurov’s “new course”. After the attack on the president’s car on June 22, many supporters of the “power line” felt morally vindicated. The result was a reinforcement of the state’s security elements (through the introduction of “external police control”, as well as federal officials), which partially restored the situation to that of the period prior to October 30 last year. At present this turning back of the clock is temporary in nature and can not be considered irreversible. However, the trend is there.

    Fundamental changes in other matters will hardly be possible until decision-makers at the highest level realize that “systemic threats” to Russia’s statehood (the term is Medvedev’s) need a systemic response. Yevkurov’s main problem was that he tried to pour new wine into old barrels that were broken in many places. Meanwhile, it is hard to change some elements of the system without changing the principles of the system as a whole. But changes in the North Caucasus system are impossible as long as the ruling elite’s ideas about this region remain the same.

    Former Soviet President Yury Andropov, a favourite of Russia’s present leaders, used to complain that “we know too little about our own country.” That opinion is still highly relevant today when we talk about the North Caucasus. Everything that Russia’s central government knows about that region is based on intelligence reports and observations by “competent authorities”. The importance of such materials is hard to deny. However, one cannot help noticing that they deal only with persons of deviant conduct, and omit from view the enormous array of people who remain loyal to Russia, the Russian state, Russian law and society. It therefore needs to be understood that without proper academic and applied scientific research in the region (research that is undertaken from time to time by individual enthusiasts without any serious support from the state) it is impossible to form an adequate picture of the situation. For the Caucasus is not only military units, interior ministry troops, the FSB, terrorists, extremists and explosions. It is ordinary people with their daily problems and questions that are not reducible to extremist programs and slogans. But the intelligence officers are not interested in that group of people, they have other problems. Hence the total disappearance of the “Caucasian man in the street” from Russia’s current socio-political map. We need to realize that in addition to a soldier, the North Caucasus also needs a sociologist and ethnographer. Otherwise this region will not cease to be a supplier of tragic news.

    http://www.watchdog.cz/index.php?show=000000-000024-000004-000013&lang=1

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