Businessman Iles Tatiyev, 42, who chairs a North Caucasus NGO that promotes cooperation between the executive branch and civil society, has been charged with money-laundering just weeks before he was due to qualify for pre-term release from jail for good behavior.
Fellow Ingush human rights activists are convinced the new charge was fabricated by the Republic of Ingushetia authorities, whom Tatiyev, along with other oppositionists, has accused of incompetence and corruption. But Shamsuddin Bokov, Republic of Ingushetia head Yunus-Bek Yevkurov’s press secretary, has rejected those allegations as “totally without foundation.”
Tatiyev was first arrested in Moscow in June 2013, two days before the opening of an informal Congress of the Ingush People, when he was en route to give an interview to the radio station Ekho Moskvy. He was charged with failing to repay a 26 million ruble loan ($808,922 at the June 2013 exchange rate) from Rosselkhozbank, even though he had guarantors and had pledged real estate as security, transported to Ingushetia, and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment.
Shortly before his arrest, Tatiyev participated in a Moscow press conference together with other members of the congress organizing committee, of which he was chairman. The speakers described in considerable detail how the republic’s government had embezzled or misspent billions of rubles in budget funds. In 2009, Ingushetia was dependent on subsidies from the federal center for 96 percent of its budget; as of mid-2014, the figure was 82.7 percent. Russian Audit Chamber head Tatyana Golikova proposed in July 2014 cutting federal subsidies to Ingushetia and several other North Caucasus republics due to their failure to use those funds for the purpose for which they were intended
Speaking at the Moscow news conference, Tatiyev cited as one example of wastage of budget funds the construction of a state-of-the-art flour mill in Ingushetia, even though the republic does not produce grain. He also alleged that budget funds allocated from Moscow for the upkeep of public housing were routinely diverted to private companies.
Tatiyev further estimated that in the five years since Yevkurov was named president in 2008, the total amount lost to corruption was 20 billion rubles -- almost twice Ingushetia’s annual budget of 11 billion rubles. A probe earlier this year by Russia’s Audit Chamber established that in 2013 alone, 1.3 billion rubles of budget funds was spent in violation of the law.
The Moscow congress went ahead in Tatiyev’s absence. It concluded with the adoption of an appeal to Yevkurov to resign voluntarily and schedule a republicwide referendum on whether the republic head should be elected in a popular ballot or by parliament. Two months earlier, Yevkurov had convened his own Congress of the Ingush People to formalize the abolition of direct elections for the post of republic head -- thereby virtually guaranteeing himself a second term in office. Tatiyev and his opposition colleagues claim the vote at that forum was rigged.
The Republic of Ingushetia parliament duly elected Yevkurov in September 2013 for a further term with 25 of 27 votes.
None of the revelations of corruption and mismanagement that have surfaced since then appears to have seriously damaged his standing vis-à-vis the federal leadership.
-- Liz Fuller