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Ingushetia's Former Head Becomes Russian Deputy Defense Minister

Yunus-bek Yevkurov is the former head of Russia's Republic of Ingushetia (file photo)

The former leader of Russia's Ingushetia region has been appointed a deputy defense minister of Russia.

The decree signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 8 also promoted Yunus-Bek Yevkurov from major general to lieutenant general.

Yevkurov resigned last month after almost 11 years of leading the volatile North Caucasus region amid ongoing tensions in Ingushetia sparked by a controversial border deal with the neighboring Russian region of Chechnya.

In September 2018, Yevkurov and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov signed a border agreement following secret negotiations, prompting activists in Ingushetia to claim the pact was invalid because it represented an illegal transfer of territory to Chechnya.

Because of the deal, Yevkurov's popularity in the region plunged dramatically.

Several mass protests in Ingushetia against the deal were violently dispersed by police and dozens of people were detained and later fined or jailed. Some protesters are facing criminal charges.

Ingush opponents of the deal say that Ingush land is being unjustly handed over to Chechnya, whose strongman leader Kadyrov has been accused of interfering in the affairs of neighboring Ingushetia and Daghestan.

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