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Human Rights Blogger Killed by Russian Police
August 31, 2008 12:04 PM   Subscribe

Magomed Yevloyev, who blogged human rights abuses committed by police in Russia's volatile Ingushetia region, was shot in the temple while in police custody today. The site, ingushetiya.ru (English version), reported the brutal anti-insurgent "Dirty War" tacticts committed by police against Ingushetia's civilian population.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot (17 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Authoritarianism means never having to say you're sorry.
posted by nasreddin at 12:12 PM on August 31, 2008 [2 favorites]


Although it's worth pointing out that it looks like it's Ingush and not Russian authorities who are responsible for this. Another way to put that would be that the siloviki in Moscow can get away with a lot more crap in the outlying regions, whether directly or through the local leadership. This kind of thing is an old story, actually--the corruption and abuse of power by regional governors was one of the justifications for making governorships appointive and not elective positions in 2002. I doubt that it improved anything, though.
posted by nasreddin at 12:43 PM on August 31, 2008


Jesus. I thought I was pretty well up on the horrors of the Caucasus, but I wasn't aware of how bad things had gotten in Ingushetia. Thanks for this depressing but necessary post.

(Silovik, for those not familiar with nasreddin's usage. Putin is the Top Dog Silovik.)
posted by languagehat at 1:06 PM on August 31, 2008


I just wish Russia would pull out of the Caucasus completely (out of all the pink and teal Republics on this map). It's kind of like an Iraq that has lasted for 200 years, with occasional lulls but never complete pacification. It is the direct cause of most of Russia's bad press on the human rights front; it encourages the neo-Nazis; it's a giant black hole for soldiers and cash; it harms foreign relations; it increases the internal power of the siloviki; it sustains a deep religious/ethnic enmity against Russia on the part of the region's Muslim population; and its resource value, compared to the cost, is minimal.

Unfortunately, it'll never happen, and we'll see more shit like this for hundreds of years.
posted by nasreddin at 1:06 PM on August 31, 2008


I'm genuinely surprised to hear you saying this nasreddin, and am completely in support. Although politically impossible, I would also favour the Georgians washing their hands of Abkhazia and Ossetia - the areas have been ethnically cleansed, and nothing can come from them but heartache. Add them top the list of Russian problems in the Caucasus and make a clan break I say.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:51 PM on August 31, 2008


Another way to put that would be that the siloviki in Moscow can get away with a lot more crap in the outlying regions, whether directly or through the local leadership. This kind of thing is an old story, actually

Ingushetia's leader, Murat Zyazikov, is former KGB/FSB so it is the same old story.

But still, Russia's southern borders are a mess. Americans who complain about sharing a border with peaceful, friendly Mexico should think twice.
posted by three blind mice at 1:52 PM on August 31, 2008


I'm genuinely surprised to hear you saying this nasreddin

Well, the fact that I oppose simplistic "Georgia good! Russia bad!" interpretations of that crisis, as well as American involvement/encirclement in the region, doesn't mean I think Russia's hands are clean or that it is well-served by this kind of thing continuing to happen (not to mention the peoples of the Caucasus itself). More than anything, really, I'm not supporting Russia so much as I am opposing the American instinct to intervene or support one side, which almost never leads to positive consequences. Plus, the entanglements produced by that type of policy often result in minor Hatfield-McCoy conflicts turning into national-level problems, which is one reason why the Caucasus is so messed up by Russian involvement--what would have been a feud between two villages in the Middle Ages now entails massive levels of repression and firepower.

(At least Putin can kill a raging Siberian tiger at a moment's notice!)

Incidentally (sorry about the derail) my father in Russia just wrote me to pass on the latest rumor, which comes from an old friend of ours with connections to high-level government figures. Apparently, what happened in Georgia was this: the Americans were planning an attack on Iran, and planned to install elaborate targeting systems in Turkey. The Turks told them to fuck off. So they moved the whole system to Georgia, presumably to Gori, and told Saakashvili that in exchange for allowing this to go through he'd get to deal with S. Ossetia. He didn't count on the Russians destroying his army--and also capturing the American targeting systems! The Americans can't mention them because revealing the planned attack would cause an international incident. The Europeans know but can't say anything either. Take that with as much salt as you like, but I think it explains a lot: the stories about the huge US armada moving towards Iran just as the attack started, the fact that US nationals were found fighting in Georgia, Saakashvili's suicidal decision to attack, the Russians' peculiar preoccupation with Gori.
posted by nasreddin at 2:43 PM on August 31, 2008 [5 favorites]


nasreddin, with all due respect, how can you expect anyone to just BELIEVE that targeting system scenario in Georgia, just because your father (in Russia) passes it on as a rumor?

I'd be willing to follow the idea your introducing if there were just a bit more evidence, but at this point.....Russia's propaganda is pretty f'n scarey considering this story.
posted by unpoppy at 2:58 PM on August 31, 2008


Eh, I don't know if I believe it myself. Just throwing it out there--at least it sounds plausible.

but at this point.....Russia's propaganda is pretty f'n scarey considering this story.


I'm not sure what you're getting at here.
posted by nasreddin at 3:04 PM on August 31, 2008


Russia uses propaganda. Every country does. Are you disagreeing on Russia having it's own propaganda?
posted by unpoppy at 3:06 PM on August 31, 2008


Russia uses propaganda. Every country does. Are you disagreeing on Russia having it's own propaganda?

Uh, are you suggesting I'm spreading Russian propaganda with this story? I guess it's possible, but that's a pretty convenient way to avoid ever challenging your assumptions about the world. I have no idea what "f'n scarey considering this story" is supposed to mean.
posted by nasreddin at 3:22 PM on August 31, 2008


Nasreddin, I'd only disagree with your father's story insofar as that placing radar systems or whatever in Georgia as a prelude to attacking Iran is far too forward-thinking for the Bush administration. If current history is anything to judge by, we'll probably bomb them using pre-WWII maps for reference.
posted by Avenger at 8:17 PM on August 31, 2008


Why would anyone place "targeting systems" in Georgia when Iraq is right next door, there are fewer mountains in the way, you've already got large bases with lots of armed guys to protect them, and nobody is going to stop you because nobody would even know what you were up to? Who'd notice yet another truck on a military base?

Further, satellites can guide bombs to within an average of 9.6m of the target, with zero vulnerable land installations. Currently planned upgrades will improve that to about ten feet, if they're not already there. Unless you're worried about Iran going nuts on southern Russia with low-level bombers there's no reason to install anything in Georgia. JSTARS, flying inside Iraq, could get you far more coverage than anything based in Georgia unless you felt like installing a few phased-array systems atop the mountains in Georgia. Which wouldn't be very secret, and wouldn't be located in Gori -- they'd be a lot further south.

The whole affair was less about "targeting systems" and more about pipelines and domestic Georgian politics.

...and now that everyone's paying attention to Georgia, it's gonna suck (even more than usual) to be in Ingushetia.
posted by aramaic at 9:09 PM on August 31, 2008


Further, satellites can guide bombs to within an average of 9.6m of the target, with zero vulnerable land installations. Currently planned upgrades will improve that to about ten feet, if they're not already there. Unless you're worried about Iran going nuts on southern Russia with low-level bombers there's no reason to install anything in Georgia. JSTARS, flying inside Iraq, could get you far more coverage than anything based in Georgia unless you felt like installing a few phased-array systems atop the mountains in Georgia. Which wouldn't be very secret, and wouldn't be located in Gori -- they'd be a lot further south.

Good points. I think you're right.
posted by nasreddin at 11:45 PM on August 31, 2008


“The whole affair was less about "targeting systems" and more about pipelines and domestic Georgian politics.”

It can’t be comingled? I’m not saying it’s “targeting systems” per se, but... put it this way - you might want to close any door that might be friendly to islamic partisans.

But yeah, not that that’s even the major theme there. Hell, the Ossetian cops did some ethnic cleansing there a bit back (89 to about 92+/-, Russia sided against the Ingush ), so it’s a tense area in the first place. It’d be like sticking your hand into a buzz saw for the U.S. to get involved out there in any casual foreign policy way. You’d have to be crazy-stupid to just screw around with it in order to serve some other agenda. (Which, actually, is one reason to suspect Bushco...)

Anyway, JTW says there was a (continued) protest this morning over the death and the militsiya came out and broke up the 50-odd guys sleeping out there at 5 am (local). Although they could have been there for morning prayers. Who’s to say really? Can’t take chances. Presumably they’ll get a nice bottle of water (beating). Little wonder people fear the cops more than the mobsters.
(If only Arsanov was still hiding out there somewhere. Always helps to have a boogeyman.)
But yeah, you’ve got BP's Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey pipeline and a lot of other fish in that soup.
Gazprom (G Neft, actually), I’m sure, has their own plans. Hydroelectric (f’rinstnce) in Tajikistan is failing (they’re rationing power) even though they’ve got most of the water in that area (that debt equity deal with Russia didn’t hurt them, nosir). But Gazprom and the UES have been angling to control central asian hydroelectric (et.al) plants for years.
Which gives them huge strategic influence. Not to mention China’s hurting for clean water...it’s a damned complex situation interlinked with a lot of other things going on right there, nearby, or related in interest whether through national or corporate or NGO (and I’m not talking just HRW, who are great, although indeed, yet another factor).
There are a lot of interest Russia has there -even if someone could simply cut the gordian knot and excise Russia from the situation - you still have interests that push to get involved and stir the pot. Hell, Putin’s holdings alone. The man has a LOT of personal power.

If there’s any region in the world right now that requires a measured, methodical, and careful foreign policy approach, it’s right there.

From a cynical POV I wouldn’t put it past the current powers that be in the U.S. to totally screw the pooch. On the other hand, I’m thinking they couldn’t possibly be that f’ing stupid. (On the 3rd hand, I’ve thought that before).

Still, the saving grace there is I don’t see any interest served by the U.S. taking a heavy handed approach (that is, boots on the ground). Doesn’t mean there isn’t already U.S. influence in the region. Or U.S. alloyed interest. (forgive my circumspection in certain areas here). The motivations should be obvious.
But as to the means - ethnic cleansing IS one way to pacify and stabilize an area. Certain interests would be served by stability there. So you kill a few reporters and bloggers and ease some of the NGO pressure and public scrutiny. Meh.

Not that that’s my personal opinion. Just describing the angle there. One of the best ways to identify a villian - they kill reporters.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:02 AM on September 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Smed! God DAMN it's good to see you back!
posted by languagehat at 12:45 PM on September 2, 2008


(Thanks LH. Sorry I bailed in the first place. I love all of ya. But things were kinda tight that had nothing to do with folks here. Started to bleed over a bit too.)
posted by Smedleyman at 1:00 PM on September 2, 2008


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