Border deal sparks protests in Russia’s Caucasus region
Oleg Orlov: in Ingushetia they are pointing &# 171; order&# 187; according to all-Russian patterns
Human rights activist – about the origins and possible consequences of the conflict between the republican opposition and the authorities
The intervention of the federal center in the conflict between the Ingush opposition and the local authorities leads to a shift in the initially inherent emphasis, says Oleg Orlov, member of the board of the Memorial Society, laureate of the Andrei Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
In his opinion, the persecution of the protesters is of a purely political nature, and the case against them is crudely fabricated..
Recall that over three dozen people were arrested and are under investigation in the “Ingush case”.
Oleg Orlov spoke about the possible transformation of the conflict into an unpredictable, in terms of its consequences, confrontation in an exclusive interview with the Russian service of the Voice of America.
Victor Vladimirov: What, in your opinion, led to the emergence of the “Ingush case”?
Oleg Orlov: I believe that the group political persecution of the leaders of the Ingush opposition and the participants of the rally on March 27 this year, of course, arose as a result of the intervention of the federal center in the affairs of the republic. It is obvious to me that either in the Kremlin or at the level of the leadership of the North Caucasus District, a decision was made that it was impossible to tolerate such a territory of freedom, albeit relative, within Russia. Let us recall that opposition rallies were regularly held there, which no one dispersed, there for many days in a row those who disagreed with the actions of the authorities could openly express their opinions. Finally, both the republican government and the opposition showed restraint there, no one showed a propensity for violent actions..
V.V .: But what’s wrong with that?
OO: This ran counter to the all-Russian policy of stifling all freedoms, including freedom of assembly. Ingushetia has become a vivid and infectious example of the fact that, in general, it is quite possible to allow the opposition to carry out their public mass actions that arise spontaneously as a response of society to problems of concern to it. And most importantly, this did not lead to any serious consequences for law and order, did not interfere with the movement of vehicles and citizens, and so on. This irritated the federal government. Hence, as it seems, the decision arose to restore “order” there according to all-Russian patterns. That is why the rally on March 27 (this year) was so rudely dispersed. Although it was an absolutely peaceful action that posed no threat to anyone, and there were no legal grounds for its dispersal, in accordance with all international standards of law.
V.V .: And what became the detonator here, were other scenarios possible??
OO: After the Rosgvardia took over, people of venerable age, respected leaders of public opinion in the republic, who wanted to prevent violence, came out ahead of the crowd of protesters. And as soon as the security forces began to treat the protesters the way they do, for example, in Moscow, the Ingush youth had no choice but to protect their elderly compatriots. The situation was largely provoked by the fact that most of the law enforcement officers were from among the seconded and did not understand anything about the local mentality. In general, there were clashes. Then, only thanks to the wise behavior of the opposition leaders, it was possible to prevent the development of events according to the worst scenario. They managed to convince the protesters to voluntarily leave the square. Nevertheless, further large-scale repressions for such a small republic unfolded. They continue right up to the present.
V.V .: Why the investigation lasts for the eighth month, at first glance, it is not particularly difficult?
OO: This case is not as easy as it might seem, especially from the point of view of those who falsify it. They need to try to prove that everything that happened was planned in advance by the opposition. It can be seen that this is not possible within the framework of the law. Hence all conceivable and inconceivable distortions, flagrant violations of procedural norms. And everything is explained by the fact that the case is of a political nature. This is an indicative process, including for the whole of Russia, for the North Caucasus. It is easy to see that the investigation is facing a very definite task – to falsify the general accusation of an action prepared in advance by the opposition with the use of violence against the police. And everything else fits into this task. There is no need to talk about the cleanliness of the methods here. Thus, in relation to one of the accused, the investigation, when establishing a preventive measure for him, argued in court that he could hide abroad, although before that they themselves had seized a foreign passport during a search. And such forgeries are innumerable.
V.V .: What can all this turn into?
OO: The actions of the authorities lead to the fact that the intra-republican conflict is increasingly turning into a confrontation between a significant part of the Ingush society and the federal center. This is very dangerous for the Caucasus. Such a development of events bodes well neither for Ingushetia, nor for the region, nor for Russia as a whole..