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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Near-Daily Violence Grips Ingushetia

Itar-TassMourners attending the funeral of schoolteacher Vera Draganchuk's husband and sons in Karabulak last weekend.
Federal Security Service officers killed one suspect and captured another in Ingushetia on Monday in an operation to find the killers of a Russian schoolteacher's family last week.

The operation is the latest chapter in the near-daily violence gripping the North Caucasus republic and threatening to ignite a full-fledged guerilla war there. The attacks have surpassed those in neighboring Chechnya, indicating that 2,000 Interior Ministry troops dispatched to Ingushetia to "neutralize" insurgents in late July are far from reaching their goal.

Officers from the FSB's Ingush branch shot dead Apti Dalakov, 21, as he tried to throw a hand grenade at them on a street in Ingushetia's main city, Nazran, on Monday, Interfax reported, citing Ingush officials. Ilez Dolgiyev, 23, was detained.

Both men are suspected of gunning down the husband and two adult sons of Vera Draganchuk, a Russian-language teacher, in the village of Karabulak on Friday. The two also have been linked to the beating of two policemen in Nazran on Saturday, the murder of two shepherds Aug. 24, and a shooting attack on a police convoy Aug. 22 that killed one officer and injured three others.

Dolgiyev is suspected of participating in every deadly attack on civilians and federal servicemen in the past two months, including the shooting deaths of two FSB officers Thursday and a car bomb in Nazran the next day that killed four policemen, Interfax said.

If convicted of terrorism, he faces life in prison.

Despite the outbreak of violence, Ingush President Murat Zyazikov insists that he remains in control and accuses the media of making matters sound worse than they really are. He told reporters in Moscow last week that the recent killings were aimed "to make people disappointed and leave" Ingushetia.

A spate of attacks on ethnic Russians does appear aimed at undercutting Zyazikov, who has said repeatedly that Russians were returning after fleeing violence and crime in the region in the 1990s and early 2000s.

In addition to Friday's attack on the schoolteacher's family, a female Russian schoolteacher and two of her adult children were gunned down in July. A bomb went off at their funeral three days later, wounding 11 people.

Ethnic Russians could start leaving en masse if the attacks do not stop, said Rostislav Turovsky, an analyst with the Agency for Regional Information.

The 2002 national census found that ethnic Russians make up only 13 percent of Ingushetia's population, the lowest in all regions. Russians are widely seen in the North Caucasus as qualified workers without whom it would be impossible to develop local social and industrial infrastructure.

Other North Caucasus republics, such as Chechnya and Dagestan, also face unrest, but the violence appears to be spinning out of control in Ingushetia because Moscow is content with Zyazikov's loyalty and reluctant to make changes, said Sergei Markedonov, a Caucasus analyst with the Institute of Political and Military Analysis. "Senior federal officials have not even publicly voiced their opinions about what is going on in Ingushetia," he said.

Zyazikov is the only leader of a North Caucasus republic who has been re-appointed to his post after the Kremlin replaced elections for regional leaders with a system under which it effectively appoints them in 2004.