Opposition Allowed in Ingushetia's Cabinet

The lawyer for the family of slain Ingush opposition leader Magomed Yevloyev has been appointed as an adviser to the new president of Ingushetia, a move that analysts said is an attempt to stabilize the North Caucasus republic.

Musa Pliyev, who is representing Yevloyev's family in the investigation of the opposition activist's murky death, will advise Ingush President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov on law enforcement issues, Pliyev said by telephone Monday from Ingushetia's capital, Magas.

The president signed the decree Sunday, Pliyev said.

A man who answered the phone at the Ingush administration said no one was available to comment because Monday was a religious holiday in the mainly Muslim republic. Yevkurov's press service, however, confirmed the appointment to Interfax on Monday.

Yevloyev, owner of Ingushetiya.ru, which was shut down this summer by authorities on extremism charges, was shot dead in a police car on Aug. 31 after being detained in Ingushetia's main city, Nazran, as he stepped off a plane from Moscow.

The opposition accused then-Ingush President Murat Zyazikov of ordering the killing as retribution for Yevloyev's criticism. Zyazikov denied any involvement but resigned in October after a six-year reign and was replaced by Yevkurov, a military general nominated by President Dmitry Medvedev.

A court in Nazran is to rule Wednesday whether to reclassify Yevloyev's death from manslaughter to murder, Plyiev said.

Shortly after his appointment, Yevkurov tapped Magomed-Sali Aushev, a vocal opposition activist, as a deputy prime minister in the Ingush government. This, along with Pliyev's appointment, shows that Yevkurov is attempting to stabilize the violence-plagued republic by balancing competing clans, political analysts said.

By bringing leading opposition figures into his government, Yevkurov is also trying to distance himself from the highly unpopular Zyazikov, said Maxim Agarkov, a Caucasus analyst with the SK-Strategia think tank.

"At the very least, the Ingush opposition that was very active in the Russian media will not consider Yevkurov a clear enemy," said Nikolai Silayev, a researcher at the Center for Caucasus Studies with the Moscow State Institute of Foreign Relations.

Silayev said he doubted that Pliyev would hold much sway with law enforcement authorities, but he could become an alternative channel of information for Yevkurov about what is going in Ingush society.