Though Chechnya often gets the street cred, Ingushetia is a pretty rough place as well, and one of the most bloody war zones of the Caucasus. Before his untimely death, the last article that lawyer Stanislav Markelov contributed to this blog was about the murder of journalist Magomed Yevloyev, and the lack of a legal opposition in Ingushetia. Following Markelov’s murder, throughout the first seven months of 2009 the situation has dramatically worsened. On June 22nd, Ingush President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov was very nearly murdered in an assassination attempt (photo of Medvedev visiting him in the hospital). Nameless dead bodies, supposedly of militants or government opponents, are regularly found in various hiding places. On July 4th, nine Chechen policemen were killed there. On July 7th, a senior military official, Colonel Magomed Gadaborshev, was killed when gunmen laid siege to his car. I could go on and on, but the point is that more people are getting killed in Ingushetia than the rank and file military vs. militias.
So one would think that there would be some very pressing security issues for government officials in the Kremlin to discuss with the Ingush authorities – hence a working meeting held between Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and acting president Rashid Gaisonov. Not quite. Instead, what we got was Putin praising Ingushetia for its positive economic growth and socio-economic achievements with a practiced and traditional Soviet-style public meeting.
Read the transcript here – it’s almost hallucinogenic.