Friday, October 05, 2007

The violence in Ingushetia - VI

In this week's Jamestown Foundation Chechnya Weekly, Harvard University National Security and Human Rights Fellow Fatima Tlisova analyzes the origins of the current situation in Ingushetia, and concludes:
Despite the Kremlin’s claims, Russia does not face a small group of bandits financed by Arab emissaries in Ingushetia. Events suggest that the Ingush “underground” consists of almost the entire republic. The real underground, the actual guerrillas, suffered severe losses in 2005 and 2006. In 2005, Ilyes Gorchkhanov, the emir of Ingushetia, a man always in close contact with Shamil Basaev, was killed in Nalchik. In 2006, Basaev himself was killed, along with most of the Ingush insurgent leaders. The guerrillas were leaderless and confused, connections to other groups in the region were lost and no real centralization was possible. Despite these conditions, the resistance continued to fight, with disparate groups doing what they saw as their duty – blowing up military and police cars and carrying out as many attacks as they could.

It was at this time that Moscow took a step that went unnoticed by the media and the analysts. In 2006, duplicates of all governmental agencies and security services were created within the republic. Simply put, alongside the Interior Ministry, FSB, and prosecutor’s office of Ingushetia, there exist replicas of these organizations fully staffed by persons from outside the republic. The level of mistrust for Ingush institutions by the Russian government has reached an all-time high. It was this unique situation that led Ingush society to overcome its internal divisions and pushed members of the local government and the even the security apparatus to support the underground. Four separate instances of armed Ingush OMON or other comparable security organizations confronting federal forces in defense of the local population have been recorded in the past three months.

After a peaceful demonstration was fired upon last week, the Kremlin declared that the Ingush crisis has been resolved. This declaration is, given everything discussed above, completely irresponsible. War cannot be “resolved” and Russia already has experience with such a “resolution” in Chechnya. While the Kremlin claimed that the Chechen resistance had been destroyed, war spread to the entirety of the North Caucasus.
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