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Ingush Novelist Rejects Incitement Allegations

Duma Deputy Dmitry Rogozin at a Great Russia conference in Moscow in May (ITAR-TASS) August 23, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Ingush writer Issa Kodzoyev has rejected claims that one of his novels incites ethnic hatred.

A spokesman for nationalist State Duma Deputy Dmitry Rogozin said the politician in July asked prosecutors to investigate whether a passage in Kodzoyev's novel "Landslide" incites ethnic hatred.

The novel chronicles the activities of a multinational resistance group in the Caucasus in 1944-45.

Political Campaign?

In an interview today with RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service, Kodzoyev linked Rogozin's move to the upcoming December parliamentary elections:

"Only yesterday, while visiting someone, did I learn that he has complaints about me. I don't even know what passage he is accusing. But there's one thing I definitely know: Rogozin has decided to promote himself ahead of elections; he wants to score points. I think that fascism is slowly pervading Russian society."

Kodzoyev, an opposition activist and former Soviet dissident, has called Rogozin "a little Stalin."

Rogozin, one of the leaders of the Great Russia party, has made no publicly remarks about his complaint against Kodzoyev.

His allegations are reportedly based on monologues spoken by a character in the book who urges the Ingush people to defy Stalin's persecutions.

Kodzoyev has suggested that the deputy's request may be connected to his opposition activities.

The author has strongly criticized the campaign carried out by Russian forces against separatists in Ingushetia and neighboring Chechnya.

Kodzoyev's son was killed in 2005 by federal troops, who suspected him of terrorism.

Stranger Than Fiction

Rogozin's complaint is the latest instance of authorities investigating a work of fiction for allegedly containing criminal content.

On August 14, Moscow prosecutors questioned prominent lawyer and television host Pavel Astakhov over his debut novel, "Raider."

The questioning took place after Ivan Glukhov, the head of the main investigative directorate of the Moscow police, complained that the novel libeled Russian law-enforcement officers.

Astakhov's novel is a thriller in which the main character bribes officers from the main investigative directorate to raid companies and open criminal investigations.

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