Ingushetia Insurgency Adds to Russia’s North Caucasus Instability

Ingushetia Insurgency Adds to Russia’s North Caucasus Instability

On Oct. 30, Murat Zyazikov resigned as president of Ingushetia -- a small, mainly-Muslim republic in Russia's North Caucasus region. Zyazikov's fate was likely sealed two weeks previously, on Oct. 18, when a military convoy was ambushed by insurgents between the villages of Alkhasty and Surkhakhi, leaving approximately 50 servicemen dead. The ambush was the largest of its type yet seen in the republic.

Ingushetia lies directly to the west of Chechnya (the Ingush and the Chechens are close ethnic relatives), and the leaders of the insurgency in Ingushetia have drawn inspiration from their Chechnyan counterparts, who have been fighting Russian forces since the mid-1990s. The current leader of the Ingush insurgency, Akhmed Yevloyev (but known as Magas), is a one-time protégé of the infamous late Chechen rebel leader Shamil Basayev.

Since a high-profile Basayev-led rebel attack on Nazran -- Ingushetia's largest city -- in 2004, the Ingush insurgency has become increasingly active in its own right. Drive-by shootings targeting federal army personnel have become a daily occurrence. The insurgents have also mastered the use of improvised explosive devices to devastating effect.

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