Ekho Moskvy radio on June 24 quoted
former Ingushetian President Ruslan Aushev as affirming his readiness to take over the republic's top post temporarily, until incumbent Yunus-Bek Yevkurov recovers from the injuries he sustained when a suicide-bomber rammed his car early on June 22.
In line with the Republic of Ingushetia's constitution, Yevkurov's duties have devolved on to Prime Minister Rashid Gaisanov, an economist and former banker who served in 1998-99 as Aushev's aide in the latter's capacity as a member of the Federation Council. Yevkurov named Gaisanov prime minister just two weeks after his own appointment as president in late October 2008.
Aushev warned that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's decision to transfer to Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov overall responsibility for the ongoing operations by Chechen and Ingushetian Interior Ministry forces against Islamic militants could lead to a deterioration of the situation in Ingushetia. Aushev commented that Kadyrov has quite enough problems to occupy him in his own republic.
Aushev, who served with the Soviet Army in Afghanistan and was elected Ingushetia's president in the summer of 1992, stepped down 10 years later, but remains extremely popular.
Two years ago, the independent website ingushetiya.ru held an online poll in which respondents were asked to say whether they would approve of Aushev's reinstallation as president in place of his successor, Murat Zyazikov, a former FSB officer widely regarded as inefficient, corrupt and venal. Of a total of 3,741 respondents, 85.2 percent (3,188 people, of a population of approximately 480,000) answered in the affirmative, while only 10.3 percent (384 people) said "no."
Also on June 24, Ingush oppositionist Magomed Khazbiyev said all opposition leaders, both past and present, agree on the need to convene an emergency congress of the Ingush people to discuss the implications of the attack on Yevkurov. On June 22, Khazbiyev blamed
that attack squarely on Zyazikov, but two days later he was quoted as telling journalists that the Interior Ministry should have provided better security for Yevkurov. He said the opposition will insist that republic's interior minister and Security Council secretary should resign.