IV. Background: How the Conflict in Ingushetia Has Unfolded

Note on Ingushetia3

Ingushetia, the smallest of Russia’s republics in the North Caucasus, covers an area of 3,210 square kilometers (1,240 square miles), and has a population of approximately 300,000.4 With Chechnya to the east, North Ossetia to the north and west, and Georgia along its southern border, Ingushetia has been a frontier land between Chechnya and its neighbors to the west.5 The population of Ingushetia is relatively young; the average age is approximately 29 years. Its unemployment rate, which in July 2007 officially exceeded 32 percent, is one of the highest in Russia.6 

Although the Ingush and Chechen cultures are distinct, their extensive contact has kept their cultural and religious developments inextricably linked. Until the 16th century, the Ingush inhabited the middle and highland areas of the Assa Valley, but throughout the following two centuries, driven by climate change and repeated Russian incursions, they migrated from the Caucasus Mountains into the plains, where further association with the Chechen people continued.7

During the Soviet era, the two national provinces were merged (from 1917-1924, 1934-1944 and 1957-1991), divided as autonomous provinces (1924-34), and, for a time, even legally abolished (1944-56) when both nations suffered a mass deportation on the orders of Joseph Stalin. The forced deportations during World War II claimed the lives of one-quarter to, perhaps, even one-half of their populations. When Chechnya declared its independence in 1991, Ingushetia formed a republic within the Russian Federation.8

Ingush and Chechens are also close linguistically, religiously, and socially. Although the two languages are formally distinct, they are sufficiently similar that Chechens and Ingush can easily understand each other; fluency in Russian is also widespread within both nations. The Ingush and Chechen converted to Islam in the 17th to early 19th centuries; both follow one of the two traditional Sufi orders: the Qadiri and the Naqshbandi.9 At the end of the 20th century, with an influx of foreign Muslim preachers into the region, a small minority of the Ingush and Chechens adopted Salafite Islam.10

Ancient mountain traditions still play a significant role in the life of both nations. They share a similar social organization in the form of tribal and clan divisions. The latter still acts as a significant determinant of one’s social relationships and conduct.11

In November 1992, Ingush and the neighboring Ossetians clashed over the disputed Prigorodny district, which both ethnic groups claimed as their own but which is officially a part of North Ossetia. The conflict brought about the destruction of a total of 2,728 Ingush and 848 Ossetian homes, and drove between 43,000 and 64,000 people from their homes.12 While the majority of the displaced Ossetians have since returned to their homes, successive decrees to return the Ingush displaced persons to North Ossetia have met with little success. At this writing, 10,000 displaced persons from Prigorodny district continue to live in Ingushetia.13

Crisis Spillover to Crisis Nexus: The Unfolding Conflict in Ingushetia

1999: Ingushetia and the second Chechen War

From the beginning of the second Chechen conflict in autumn 1999, Ingushetia hosted thousands of internally displaced persons who fled Chechnya. According to official figures, between 1999 and 2003 as many as 308,000 displaced persons were registered at one point or another in Ingushetia.14 The vast majority of them eventually returned to Chechnya or left for other regions. During periods of the most intensive fighting, however, the displaced almost outnumbered the population of Ingushetia.

Chechen internally displaced persons enjoyed relative safety and stability in Ingushetia until 2002, when Murat Zyazikov, a former Federal Security Service (FSB) general who had strong Kremlin support, succeeded Ruslan Aushev as president.15 Shortly after Zyazikov’s election in April 2002, federal authorities adopted a detailed plan for returns to Chechnya. Zyazikov implemented the plan, which resulted in massive returns, some of them forced, of displaced people to Chechnya and the final closure in June 2004 of tent camps housing thousands of them.16 At this writing, about 38,000 people displaced from Chechnya continue to live in Ingushetia, in private dwellings, dormitories, and makeshift housing.17

Human rights and security dynamics in Ingushetia 1999-2003

When the second Chechen war started, international scrutiny was focused on Chechnya. Compared to its neighbor, Ingushetia appeared a peaceful haven, and was the subject of international attention almost entirely in connection with Chechen refugee issues. By the end of 2003, attention started to shift to a rise in attacks on Ingush police and security forces.

Federal and Ingush authorities repeatedly claimed that rebel fighters pushed out of Chechnya found safe refuge in settlements and tent camps, hiding among the large numbers of internally displaced people.18 Nonetheless, the Russian military presence was almost non-existent in Ingushetia, and the activity of Chechen rebels mostly imperceptible.19 The first large clash between federal forces and Chechen rebels in Ingushetia took place in September 2002, when almost 200 Chechen fighters entered Ingushetia, shot down a Russian helicopter, and killed at least 17 soldiers.20

The security situation in Ingushetia deteriorated in late 2002, with numerous attacks on Ingush law enforcement personnel. According to an Ingush government official, at least 11 Ingush policemen were shot dead in 2002 “in criminal incidents related to Chechnya in one way or another.”21

Also in 2002, security and law enforcement agents in Ingushetia carried out abduction-style detentions and enforced disappearances, which had become hallmarks of the Chechnya conflict.22 At this time, these violations affected only Chechen displaced person, and therefore, outside observers perceived them as an extension of the human rights crisis in Chechnya.23 

After the October 2002 “Nord-Ost” hostage crisis at the Dubrovka Theater in Moscow,24 the federal government deployed more troops to Ingushetia, an indication of Russia’s decision to broaden the scope of its “counterterrorism operation” in the North Caucasus region. While previously sweep operations were very rare in Ingushetia, by summer 2003 they became frequent. In June 2003 alone, seven were carried out in displaced persons’ settlements and Ingush villages.25

2003: Sweep operations and insurgent attacks

The operations followed the pattern of sweep operations or targeted raids seen in Chechnya: large groups of armed personnel, often arriving in armored personnel carriers and other military vehicles without license plates, surrounded a neighborhood or an entire village and conducted either sweep or random checks at peoples’ dwellings. The armed personnel, who were in most cases masked, did not identify themselves or provide the residents with any explanation for the operations. During the operations, many civilians were subjected to beatings and other forms of ill-treatment; some houses were looted.26 

The year 2003 also saw a marked rise in the number of abductions. Human rights defenders documented 52 abduction-style detentions, of which 41 of the victims were Chechen displaced persons.27 The authorities demonstrated unwillingness to acknowledge that the abuses even took place, let alone to investigate them and punish the security forces responsible for them. The military, security, and law enforcement agencies participating in the Ingushetia operations enjoyed complete impunity, which had long been a characteristic of the Chechnya conflict.28

Mid-2004: Severe deterioration

Insurgent raid on Nazran and Karabulak

The human rights situation and security situation in Ingushetia deteriorated sharply in 2004. On the evening of June 21, a group of insurgents stormed the towns of Nazran and Karabulak, attacked law enforcement facilities, and exerted control over both towns until early the next morning.29 The insurgents were led by the infamous Chechen rebel commander Shamil Basaev, who had been the mastermind behind some of the worst terrorist attacks in Russia’s history. Basaev’s group, which led the raid, numbered several hundred, including ethnic Chechen, but also many Ingush fighters.30

The casualties in the ranks of Ingush law enforcement personnel were overwhelming. The insurgents, dressed in camouflage uniforms and wearing masks, looked no different from military and security servicemen. They stopped people in the streets and road intersections, asking for their identification documents, and killed all those who had law enforcement personnel ID. According to official data from June 23, 2004, insurgents had killed 24 members of the Ingushetia police force, 12 officers of the republican FSB branch, and 16 policemen temporarily deployed to Ingushetia from other regions of Russia.31 The acting minister of internal affairs of Ingushetia, his deputy, and the Nazran municipal and district prosecutors also lost their lives during the raids.32

The insurgents inflicted significant civilian casualties too, particularly as they killed not only security and law enforcement personnel but generally those who had official ID, including, for example, the head of the Ingushetia postal service, a staff member of the republican Ministry of Agriculture, and a staff member of the republican Ministry of Transport. On June 23, the overall number of killed civilians was quoted as 44.33

According to the official website of Ingushetia, the final total of the casualties from the armed raid was 98 killed and 104 wounded, including law enforcement and security personnel, officials, and civilians.34

For a small republic like Ingushetia such losses were staggering. Most local residents were also shocked by the fact that many of the members of Basaev’s group were Ingush. In the wake of Basaev’s raid, the public at large rallied around the government and urged the authorities to take prompt and strong measures to prevent such attacks from happening again. Thus, the intensification of counterinsurgency operations as of mid-2004 initially enjoyed widespread public support.35

Ensuing counterinsurgency operations

Sweep operations were immediately carried out in areas heavily populated by Chechen displaced persons. No large-scale abuses occurred, and most of the people detained during those operations were promptly released. However, the sweeps were followed by targeted raids, in which individuals suspected of involvement with the insurgents were summarily and arbitrarily detained by federal or local security and law enforcement servicemen. Some of the detained individuals “disappeared.” Others were tortured and forced to confess to involvement in insurgent groups and attacks, including, but not limited to, the raid on Nazran.36

Counterinsurgency operations and human rights violations intensified in the wake of the September 2004 hostage-taking atrocity in Beslan, North Ossetia.37  

According to the leading Russian human rights NGO, Memorial, 75 people were “abducted” in Ingushetia by law enforcement and security agencies in 2004, half of them residents of Ingushetia.38 Eventually, one of those individuals was found dead, 23 disappeared, and the others were either released after protracted interrogations and torture or appeared in remand prisons. Many of the latter were held in the remand prison of Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia, having confessed to grave crimes and incriminated other residents of Ingushetia, who would then suffer the same fate.39 Memorial documented many of these cases and asserts that during counterinsurgency operations security and law enforcement servicemen did not identify themselves or explain the reasons behind the raids. They would seize individuals allegedly involved with an illegal armed group; their families were not made aware of their respective fates or whereabouts. Those detained were tortured and subjected to psychological pressure in both legal and illegal places of detention. They were generally denied access to independent legal counsel, and were forced to sign confessions and other incriminating statements.40

Security forces targeted strictly observant Muslims in particular, assuming their religiosity would make them likely insurgents. As described below, the insurgency in Ingushetia has a broad Islamic agenda, and a large proportion of insurgents adhered to strict interpretations of Islam. According to numerous reports, law enforcement agencies in the North Caucasus were tasked with putting together lists of so-called Wahhabis, the term being misused to describe any followers of Salafite Islam and more broadly to brand alleged supporters of insurgency and terrorism. Those on the list would generally become the first obvious victims of counterinsurgency operations.41

2006 and beyond: insurgents’ agenda and operations in Ingushetia, and the counterinsurgency

The Basaev raid in 2004 clearly demonstrated that insurgent and rebel groups operating in Ingushetia included Ingush residents. Subsequent insurgent attacks in the region also relied on major involvement of Ingush fighters.42 Insurgent attacks intensified in Ingushetia in the wake of the post-Beslan counterterrorism operations. These attacks targeted law enforcement personnel, government officials, and local religious leaders who spoke against Salafite Islam.

As for the counterinsurgency response and related human rights abuses, Memorial’s research findings for 2006 evidence a marked shift from abduction-style detentions to extrajudicial executions: 15 civilians were abducted and about 40 were killed in counterinsurgency operations.43

2007: Dramatic increase in insurgent attacks on servicemen and officials

2007 saw a dramatic rise in insurgent activity. The beginning of the year was marked by assassination attempts on the mufti of Ingushetia and two other religious leaders, and an attack on a military convoy in the part of North Ossetia’s Prigorodny district populated by Ingush. The attack on President Zyazikov’s family residence in the village of Barsuki on July 16, the alleged shelling of President Zyazikov’s motorcade on July 21,  as well as the attack on the FSB building and the presidential palace in Magas on July 27 received particularly broad media coverage.44 While in 2006 there were 37 attacks on law enforcement personnel that resulted in deaths of 15 police officers and four civilians,45 in 2007, according to statistics provided to Human Rights Watch by Ingushetia Minister of Internal Affairs Musa Medov, 86 attacks were made on members of law enforcement agencies.46 The resultant casualty toll, according to Prosecutor of Ingushetia Yuri Turygin, was 65 servicemen killed in 2007.47 Memorial reported more than 50 insurgent attacks on law enforcement and military officers and civilian servicemen in the period June through September alone.48 Among those killed were the deputy head of Plievo district administration, a republican civil servant, four Ingush policemen, and an FSB colonel who had investigated the abductions of Ingush and Chechens in North Ossetia.

Interior Minister Medov’s statistics show another 28 attacks on members of law enforcement agencies during the first three months of 2008.49

Attacks on non-Ingush

A particularly disturbing development in insurgent activity was a wave of killings of non-Ingush residents of Ingushetia (hereafter referred to as Russian-speakers of various ethnic backgrounds).

The first series of such attacks were carried out between January and March 2006 and, according to Memorial, three people were killed and three others wounded. Additionally, six Russian-speaking families had petrol bombs thrown into or at their homes.50 Another series of attacks were perpetrated in 2007 and reached a shocking level in the months of July to November, when 24 Russian-speaking residents were killed allegedly by insurgents. Among them were ethnic Russians, Roma, and Koreans. The majority of the victims were long-term residents of Ingushetia who enjoyed respect in the local community. Relatives of some of the victims fled Ingushetia in fear of further attacks.51

A series of killings in summer 2007 of Russian-speaking families sparked public outrage in Ingushetia. A Russian school teacher, Ludmilla Terekhina, and her children Marina and Vadim, were killed in the village of Ordzhonikidzevskaya on July 16. Two days later, an improvised mine exploded by their gravesite at their funeral, wounding 10 people. On August 31 another Russian teacher, Vera Draganchuk lost her family to another such attack: her husband Anatoly and her sons Mikhail and Denis were killed in the town of Karabulak soon after midnight.52 The authorities pledged to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice without delay. However, subsequent operations by law enforcement and security forces resulted in extrajudicial executions of local residents suspected of involvement in the killings of Terekhina and her children and the family-members of Draganchuk. This also caused a major public outcry and contributed to rising tensions in the republic.53

Many residents of Ingushetia refuse to believe that the killings of Russian-speakers in Ingushetia were perpetrated by the rebels and attribute them to the security services. That in itself testifies to the growing antagonism towards the FSB, as a result of the accumulating abusive operations.54 The involvement of insurgents, however, appears very plausible in light of a statement by one of the leading commanders of the insurgents published by the key rebel website, Caucasus Center, in May 2006. The statement asserted that the militants had recently carried out a series of successful operations, “including against Russians in the territory of the North Caucasus, and Ingushetia in particular” because the insurgency leadership “now view Russians as military colonists, with all relevant consequences.”55 The same concept was reinforced by the chief insurgent leader, Doku Umarov, in a statement on November 21, 2007.56

2007-08 counterinsurgency operations

In attempts to suppress the growing insurgency, a “special preventative operation” began in Ingushetia as of July 25, 2007: the local police force was put on permanent alert and 2,500 troops of Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs were deployed to the region along with several dozen armored personnel carriers (APCs). At this writing, the operation is still ongoing.57 However, it has proved to be ineffective under the circumstances, as the specially deployed servicemen soon became additional targets for the insurgents. Generally, from July to early autumn 2007, insurgent attacks were occurring several times per week and sometimes on a daily basis.58 This frequency of rebel attacks decreased a little with the arrival of colder weather but rose to the same level in the spring of 2008.59 Insurgents’ attacks continue to plague Ingushetia as of writing of this report.60

Human rights violations perpetrated during the ongoing “special preventative operation,” as well as prior operations in 2007, are documented in this report, and have clearly contributed to a further growth in tensions. According to Memorial, in 2007 alone 29 civilians were “abducted” and approximately 40 killed by military, security, and police officials.61

Parliamentary acknowledgment of abuses during counterinsurgency operations

Ingushetia’s parliament has acknowledged the abusive nature of counterterrorism efforts in Ingushetia. A Temporary Parliamentary Commission was formed in Ingushetia to analyze the human rights situation and released a report in February 2008, stressing that the lawless comportment by law enforcement and security largely contributed to the overall deterioration of the situation in the republic. The commission noted, in particular, that from 2004 through 2007, 149 individuals were subjected to extrajudicial executions in Ingushetia. The commission also stated this figure was based on information it received from law enforcement bodies.62

General Characteristics of Insurgents in Ingushetia, Links to Chechnya

The number of insurgents in Ingushetia is unclear. Law enforcement agencies and the media have made strikingly low estimates ranging from 50 to 100 militants in the territory of the republic. While little is known about the insurgents’ structure and agenda, it appears inseparable from the insurgency in Chechnya. 

According to media reports, three major rebel groups operate in Ingushetia—Barakat (“Bliss”), Nazran, and Taliban—and are joined under the command of Akhmed Yevloev, also known as Commander Magas.63 According to Caucasus Center, “Magas”64 initially received his mandate directly from Doku Umarov,65 a prominent Chechen commander and former president of the unrecognized Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. Umarov dissolved Ichkeria in October 2007 and proclaimed himself “Emir of the Caucasus Emirates.”66 “Magas’s” appointment by Umarov can be viewed,inter alia, as corroboration of the widespread opinion that the insurgents in the North Caucasus have a centralized command, the so-called Majlisul Shura (council of field commanders) led by Umarov.

In his October 2007 statement, Umarov specifically condemned “all names that the faithless [non-Muslims] use to divide Muslims,” that is any ethnic or territorial division of the Caucasus.67 It therefore appears that after several years of symbiosis between Islamist and separatist tendencies within the armed groups, the Chechen separatist project lost to the militant Islamist approach.68

One expert on the insurgency emphasized that the insurgency movement in the North Caucasus is of a “clearly Jihadist” nature.69 Among new recruits there may be individuals initially unfamiliar with strict interpretations of Islam and motivated by revenge for family members killed by security services, personal experiences of abduction and torture, etc. However, once such individuals join the rebel forces they become indoctrinated in strict and militant Islam.70 The insurgents’ proclaimed long-term goal is to create an Islamic state in the Caucasus.71 Their short-term agenda is far from distinct, and can be generally described as destabilizing the situation in the North Caucasus region and ousting the authorities.

Perhaps in an effort to gain public support, since 2004 the insurgents have been generally avoiding killing Ingush or otherwise Muslim civilians in Ingushetia.72 In response to the insurgents’ attacks on law enforcement servicemen and public officials, the law enforcement and security forces carry out counterinsurgency operations that result in the killing and abduction of local residents. This only makes Ingushetia’s residents believe the insurgents are, at minimum, no worse than the authorities.73

The dramatic rise in insurgent attacks in Ingushetia may be explained largely by Ramzan Kadyrov’s grip on Chechnya and his successful strategy of recruiting insurgents into his security forces in exchange for personal security guarantees. This has made it increasingly difficult for the insurgents to operate in Chechnya. One result is that by 2007 their efforts became largely focused on neighboring Ingushetia, whose authorities are too weak to effectively exert control over the situation and whose residents have been so frustrated by violent and lawless actions by security and law enforcement agencies that the base of support for insurgency on the ground is gradually growing.74  

3 This is a modified and updated version of Chapter II, “Note on Ingushetia” of Human Rights Watch, Spreading Despair: Russian Abuses in Ingushetia, vol.15, no. 8(D), September 2003,

4 “Ingushetia: CIS and Baltic Political Geography,” The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 2003, (accessed September 3, 2003).

5 Johanna Nichols, “The Ingush (with notes on the Chechen): Background information,” University of California, Berkeley, February 1997, (accessed September 3, 2003).

6 Valeria Volokhova, “Countries with biggest unemployment rate,” (Самые безработные страны), RBK.Rating, July 19, 2007, (accessed March 26, 2008).

7 Ibid.

8 Ibid.

9 Yavus Akhmadov et al., “Islam in the North Caucasus: A People Divided, Religion in the North Caucasus,” WRNI, 1999-2001, (accessed September 3, 2003).

10 Alexei Malashenko and Dmitry Trenin, The Time of the South: Russia in Chechnya, Chechnya in Russia (Время юга: Россия в Чечне; Чечня в России), (Moscow: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2002). On file with Human Rights Watch.

11 Johanna Nichols, “The Ingush.”

12 Human Rights Watch/Helsinki, The Ingush-Ossetian Conflict in the Prigorodny Region (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1996), p. 1.

13 See “The Commissioner Liked What He Saw in Chechnya,” BBC News Online, April 25, 2008, (accessed May 12, 2008). President Zyazikov, Ombudsman Kokurkhaev, and Deputy Head of the Ingush Parliament Khautieva repeatedly stressed to Human Rights Watch that the issue of displaced persons from Prigorodny district is the key human rights problem in Ingushetia and should become a priority for human rights organizations and the international community. They also indicated that other human rights issues in the republic pale in importance when compared with this problem. Human Rights Watch meeting with these officials, Magas, Ingushetia, May 28, 2008.

14 ITAR-TASS World service, citing Ingush acting Prime Minister Timur Mogushkov, June 17, 2003.

15 See the official website of the Republic of Ingushetia: (accessed June 6, 2008). Aushev is a common surname in Ingushetia, and the many other persons with that surname mentioned in this report are not known to be closely related to the former president.

16 For more information about forced returns, see Human Rights Watch, Russia – Into Harm’s Way: Forced Return of Displaced People to Chechnya, vol. 15, no. 1(D), January 2003,

17 “The Commissioner Liked What He Saw in Chechnya,” BBC News Online.

18 For example, former commander of the United Group of Forces Gen. Gennadii Troshev repeatedly said that “Chechen gangs frequent” Ingushetia, and separatists’ leaders hide there. See “General Gennadii Troshev, ‘Chechens Ask Us to Finish Off Gangsters,’” Defense and Security (Moscow), December 24, 2001. On several occasions, Ingush authorities related similar concerns to Human Rights Watch. Human Rights Watch interviews with a Federal Migration Service official (name withheld), July and December 2002, Nazran, Ingushetia, and Human Rights Watch, Spreading Despair, p. 6.

19 See Human Rights Watch, Spreading Despair, p. 6.

20 Ibid.

21 Ibid, and Marina Perevozkina, “Playing Budanov: Federal forces in Ingushetia can turn it into Chechnya,” [Игра в будановцев: Федеральные войска в Ингушетии могут сделать ее Чечней], Moskovskii Komsomolets, August 18, 2003.

22 On May 28, 2008, the Ingushetia prosecutor, Yuri Turygin, said that between 1994 and 2007 the prosecutor’s office registered 215 abductions in Ingushetia, and that the majority occurred between 1994 and 1999. Turygin emphasized the drop in the number of abductions in recent years. However, the prosecutor failed to mention that the abductions of 1994-1999 were essentially abductions for ransom and other kidnappings perpetrated without involvement of security and law enforcement personnel. See “Yuri Turygin Quotes a Significant Decrease in the Number of Abductions in the Recent Years,” (Юрий Турыгин заявляет о значительном сокращении числа похищений людей за последние годы), official website of the Republic of Ingushetia, May 28, 2008, (accessed on May 29, 2008).

23 According to Memorial Human Rights Center (Memorial), 28 individuals were abducted in Ingushetia by security services in 2002. Only one of them was a resident of Ingushetia; all the others were Chechen refugees. Sixteen of those individuals “disappeared.”  See Memorial, “A Conveyer of Violence: Human rights violations during anti-terrorist operations in the Republic of Ingushetia,” September 2005, (accessed May 13, 2008).

24 A massive hostage taking operation during the performance of “Nord-Ost” musical by over 40 Chechen militants occurred on October 23, 2002.  As a result, 912 people, including 100 children, were taken hostage and held for three days in the theater.  On October 26, 2002 a fast-acting sleeping gas was released into the theater, and shortly after the Russian special forces stormed the building.  Reportedly, 130 people died, the majority of them from gas poisoning.  See “Moscow remembers victims of the Dubrovka hostage crisis,” (В Москве вспомнили жертв теракта на Дубровке),, October 26, 2007, (accessed June 16, 2008); Nick Paton Walsh, “Siege rescue carnage as gas kills hostages,” The Guardian, October 27, 2002, (accessed June 16, 2008).

25 See Human Rights Watch, Spreading Despair, p. 6.

26 For example, even when ITAR-TASS news agency briefly reported on the operation in the villages in Arshty and Chemulga in early June 2003, the piece mentioned that the “reasons for the operation” were “not reported.” See Ruslam Maisigov, “Military block Ingush settlements of Arshty, Chemulga,” ITAR-TASS World Service, June 7, 2003. See also Human Rights Watch, Spreading Despair, p. 9.

27 According to Memorial, one was eventually found murdered, 30 disappeared, and 21 were released after interrogations and beatings. For detail, see Memorial, “A Conveyer of Violence.”

28 See Human Rights Watch, Spreading Despair, p. 20. For reasons that are not clear, neither internal troops of the federal Ministry of Internal Affairs nor federal military provided assistance to the Ingushetia law enforcement officials in countering the rebel attack. Irina Khalip, “Basaev’s Guide,” (Проводник Басаева), Novaya Gazeta (Moscow), August 16, 2004, (accessed May 14, 2008).

29 Khalip, “Basaev’s Guide,” (Проводник Басаева),Novaya Gazeta.

30 Ibid.

31 “95 people were killed as a result of terrorist attack in Ingushetia,” (95 человек погибли в результате нападения боевиков на Ингушетию),, June 23, 2004, (accessed May 14, 2008).

32 “Tragedy during Tribulation,” (Трагедия в день скорби), Official website of the Republic of Ingushetia, July 15, 2004, (accessed May 14, 2008).

33 “95 people were killed as a result of terrorist attack in Ingushetia,” (95 человек погибли в результате нападения боевиков на Ингушетию),

34 “Tragedy during Tribulation,” (Трагедия в день скорби), Republic of Ingushetia website.

35 See Memorial, “A Conveyer of Violence.”

36 Ibid.

37 The hostage crisis began on September 1, when armed men and women burst into School No. 1 as approximately a thousand children, parents, and teachers had gathered to celebrate the beginning of the academic year. The armed group held the hostages without food or drinking water for over 48 hours before Russian security forces stormed the school. It has been reported that over 338 hostages, almost half of them children, were killed; hundreds more were taken to hospital suffering from injuries of varying severity. For details, see Human Rights Watch, “Joint NGO statement on the Beslan Hostage Tragedy,” 8 September, 2004,, and “Outcome of Beslan Tragedy : 338 killed, half of them children,” (Итог трагедии в Беслане: 338 погибших, половина из них – дети), Kavlaz-Uzel.Ru, September 6, 2008, (accessed May 16, 2008).

38 Thirty-eight of the abducted were Chechens and 37 were Ingush. See Memorial, “A Conveyer of Violence.”

39 As Ingushetia does not have its own remand prison, criminal suspects were held in pretrial detention facilities elsewhere in the North Caucasus, primarily in Vladikavkaz until 2007, when the authorities started sending them to remand facilities in Nalchik (Kabardino-Balkaria) or Pyatigorsk (Stavropol province) due to strong public outcry about the torture of Ingush detainees in North Ossetia. For details, see Memorial, “A Conveyer of Violence” and Memorial, “Ingushetia 2007 – What’s Next,” (Ингушетия 2007 – куда дальше?), (accessed May 13, 2008).

40 See Memorial, “A Conveyer of Violence.”

41 See, for example, Yulia Latynina, “Code of Access” [Код Доступа] program, Echo of Moscow Radio, May 10, 2008, (accessed June 6, 2008). Similar information was also reported to Human Rights Watch by an anonymous member of law enforcement in Nazran, Ingushetia, on December 21, 2007. For more information on targeting Muslims in counterterrorist operations, see section “Abductions, Enforced Disappearances, and Torture” in this report.

42 See Memorial “Report by the Memorial Human Rights Centre dedicated to the new round of consultations between the EU and Russia (Ljubljana, April 16, 2008) – The Situation in the North Caucasus: Autumn 2007 - Spring 2008,” April 2008, (accessed June 6, 2008).

43 Human Rights Watch interview with Alexander Cherkasov, a North Caucasus researcher of Memorial, Moscow, May 12, 2008. No statistics for abductions and killings by military, security, and law enforcement servicemen in 2005 are available.

44 Memorial, “Ingushetia 2007 – What’s Next,” (Ингушетия 2007 – куда дальше?), Section 4.1, “Insurgency on the rise,” (Активизация боевиков).

45 See the report by the Temporary Commission of the People’s Assembly [Parliament] of Ingushetia “On Verification of Facts of Human Rights Violations in the Republic for 2007,” (accessed May 14, 2008).

46 Statistics provided by Musa Medov, Ingushetia’s minister of internal affairs, during a Human Rights Watch meeting with Ingushetia’s authorities, Magas, May 27, 2008.

47 Turygin quoted this number during a Human Rights Watch meeting with Ingushetia authorities in Magas on May 27, 2008. Speaking to Memorial in October 2007, Turygin said the number of attempted killings of security and law enforcement officers in Ingushetia in 2007 rose by 85 percent as compared to the previous year. See Memorial, “Report dedicated to the new round of consultations between the EU and Russia.” Particularly hard hit was Malgobek district, where the number of such crimes grew by 150 percent as compared to 2006. Report by the Office of the Prosecutor of the Republic of Ingushetia, (accessed May 14, 2008). Despite the growing casualties in the ranks of the law enforcement and security agencies, Turygin assesses their efforts aimed at preventing terrorist attacks as successful because, according to his information, there were only six terrorist attacks in 2007, as opposed to the 16 that had been perpetrated in 2006. Human Rights Watch meeting with Yury Turygin and other Ingushetia authorities, May 27, 2008.

48 Memorial, “Ingushetia 2007 – What’s Next,” (Ингушетия 2007 – куда дальше?), Section 4.1, “Insurgency on the rise,” (Активизация боевиков).

49 Statistics provided by Musa Medov, May 27, 2008.

50 Memorial, “Letter to the president of Ingushetia on a series of attacks on Russian residents of Ingushetia,” (Письмо Президенту Республики Ингушетия по поводу серии нападений на русских жителей Ингушетии), March 15, 2006, (accessed June 6, 2008).

51 The president of Ingushetia, Murat Zyazikov, told Human Rights Watch at a meeting in Magas on May 27, that “not a single Russian left the republic” in the wake of the attacks. However, Human Rights Watch is aware that Vera Draganchuk and her daughter left Ingushetia for Stavropol soon after the killings. See, for instance, Memorial, “Ingushetia 2007 – What’s Next,” (“Ингушетия 2007 – куда дальше?”), Section 4.2, “Killings of non-Ingush residents of Ingushetia and Investigation into them,” (Убийство граждан «нетитульных» национальностей и их расследование).

52 See Memorial, “Ingushetia 2007 – What’s Next,” (Ингушетия 2007 – куда дальше?), Section 4.2, “Killings of non-Ingush residents of Ingushetia and Investigation into them,” (Убийство граждан «нетитульных» национальностей и их расследование).

53 See Section “Extrajudicial Executions” in this report for the cases of Islam Belokiev and Apti Dalakov.

54 From a series of anonymous interviews with residents of Ingushetia conducted in July 2007 by the author of this report in her former capacity as head of the “Conflict Zones” program at Center Demos, a Russian human rights think-tank. The reluctance of local residents to attribute the killings to the insurgents stands in strong contrast to the public outrage caused by Basaev’s raid on Nazran and Karabulak in 2004, and demonstrates how abusive special operations influence the mindset of the population of Ingushetia. See Tanya Lokshina, “In the Armed Fighting Zone,” (В зоне военных действий), Polit.Ru, August 2007, (accessed May 14, 2008).

55 “No one can stop Jihad,” (Джихад уже никому не остановить), May 17, 2006,, (accessed May 14, 2008). Notably, when the killing of Ludmilla Terekhina and her family in July 2007 caused indignation among the population in Ingushetia, the leadership of Ingushetia-based rebels claimed they were not involved in that killing and have nothing against “peoples of other ethnicities on the condition that they do not participate in the flight against Islam and Muslims.” […представители любой другой национальности, при условии их неучастия в борьбе против Ислама и мусульман, то мы не имеем к ним никаких претензий]. See “Press Release by the Ingush Sector of the Caucasus [rebel] Front,”, September 3, 2007, (accessed June 6, 2008).

56 “Official release of the statement by Amir Dokka Umarov on the announcement of the Caucasian Emirates,” (Официальный релиз заявления Амира Докки Умарова о провозглашении Кавказского Эмирата),, November 21, 2007, (accessed June 6, 2008).

57 See “Ingushetia: chronicle of terrorist attacks, shellings, and abductions,” Kavkazskiy Uzel, August 31, 2007, (accessed May 14, 2008).

58 See Memorial, “Ingushetia 2007 – What’s Next,” (Ингушетия 2007 – куда дальше?), Section 4.1 “Insurgency on the rise,” (Активизация боевиков) and Section 4.12, “Autumn: the results of the prophylactic special operation,” (Осень – итоги комплексной профилактической операции).

59 For day-to-day developments, see “Ingushetia: chronicle of terrorist attacks, shellings, and abductions,” Kavkazskiy Uzel.

60 For example, on June 13, 2008, alone an explosion in Nazran killed four people.  See “At least 8 dead in wave of Russia violence,” Reuters, June 13, 2008, (accessed June 16, 2008).

61 Human Rights Watch interview with Alexander Cherkasov, May 12, 2008.

62 “Report ‘On the findings of the Temporary Commission of the People’s Assembly in the Republic of Ingushetia on Checking into the Facts of Violations of Rights of Citizens in the Republic of Ingushetia’”, (Доклад ‘Об итогах работы Временной комиссии Народного Собрания Республики Ингушетия по проверке фактов нарушения прав граждан в республике Ингушетия’), Kavkazskiy Uzel, February 24, 2008, (accessed May 15, 2008).

63 See Memorial, “Situation in the Conflict Zone in the North Caucasus: Summer 2007,” October 2007, (accessed May 15, 2008).

64 This nom de guerre is given in quotation marks throughout the report, to differentiate it from references to Ingushetia’s capital city, Magas. It should also be noted that Yevloev is a common surname in Ingushetia, and the several people with that name mentioned in this report are not known to be related to one another.

65 “Doku Umarov’s decree #139,”, July 19, 2007, (accessed May 15, 2008).

66 See, for instance, “Chechnya is no more,” (Чечни не стало), Gazeta.Ru, November 1, 2007, (accessed May 15, 2008).

67 Ibid.

68 See, for instance, Center Demos, “Chechnya. Life at War,” Moscow, 2007, pp. 82-97.

69 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Andrei Babitsky, Radio Liberty correspondent and leading expert on the armed underground in the North Caucasus, May 15, 2008.


71 See, for instance, “Chechnya is no more,” (Чечни не стало), Gazeta.Ru.

72 In the insurgents’ perception, state officials are not civilians, though this approach cannot be justified under international humanitarian law.

73 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Andrei Babitsky, May 15, 2008.

74 See Section “Chechenization of the Conflict, or the ‘Political Process’ in the Chechen Republic” in Center Demos, “Chechnya. Life at War,” pp. 82-97. See also Memorial, “Ingushetia 2007 – What’s Next,” (Ингушетия 2007 – куда дальше?), Section 1, “Introduction.”