Not Yevkurov, though, who made noises about Western involvement, suggesting that Russia's purported return to great power status might be too much for the rest of us to handle.
Russia’s interior ministry said the truck, driven by a suicide bomber, smashed into the gate of the police station in Nazran, the Ingush capital, before exploding as officers assembled for morning parade.
The blast, which injured 118 – including women and children – led to Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, sacking the Ingush minister of the interior, saying the atrocity could have been prevented.
“I suggest [the attack] was not just the result of problems connected with terrorist activity, but also the result of the unsatisfactory character of law enforcers’ work in the republic,” he said.
It was the deadliest in a string of recent high-profile attacks that are destabilising the mainly Muslim regions on Russia’s southern flank.
In June, the interior minister in Dagestan was gunned down in a Mafia-style killing at a wedding and weeks later there was an assassination attempt on Yunus-bek Yevkurov, the president of Ingushetia.
The Kremlin has blamed the escalating violence on Islamist extremists.
Of course, everyone's favorite insurgent/terrorist-turned-brutal-sub-governor-turned-patriotic-defender-of-Russian-security, Ramzan Kadyrov, isn't really worried about who did it. He just knows he's going to F that guy up bad when he finds him.
“I have stressed this [before] and am saying again now: the west will strive not to allow Russia to revive its former Soviet might,” he told Russian radio.
Mr Yevkurov, a former paratrooper, was appointed by the Kremlin last October to bring order to Ingushetia, an impoverished region bordering Chechnya.
Kadyrov, of course, has been implicated in just about every sort of brutality you can imagine in the North Caucasus. Just yesterday, the L.A. Times ran a feature piece on Kadyrov's involvement in the campaign of terror sweeping across Ingushetia -- and this was before the bombing.
Just hours after the attack on Ingush President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, Kadyrov told Reuters he had been ordered by the Kremlin to fight insurgents in Ingushetia. His comments provoked speculation that Kadyrov was seeking to widen his clout over neighbouring regions in the North Caucasus. Ingush politicians warned such a move could tip the region further into chaos.
"We will conduct our investigation in line with the law of the mountains and our revenge for Yunus-Bek Yevkurov will be ruthless," Kadyrov was quoted as saying in the local capital, Magas, where he met acting Ingush president Rashid Gaisanov.
The statement indicated Kadyrov was referring to the region's ancient tradition of
blood feuds. Ingush officials said Kadyrov's visit had been a surprise.
This article does a pretty good job of giving Kadyrov's backstory if you're unfamiliar with it.
Day after day, insurgents attack police and government officials with ambushes and bombings. And day after day, security forces unleash what human rights activists describe as a campaign of killings, abductions and torture in their efforts to force calm upon the land.
Now Ingushetia is struggling under the weight of a new terror, one that seeps over the mountains from Chechnya, a neighboring mostly Muslim Russian republic.
Having brutally squashed dissent in his own restive republic, Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, a young Kremlin-backed former rebel known for his ruthless style of rule, is sending his notorious squads of fighters to hunt down rebels in Ingushetia.
With Kadyrov's authority creeping over the boundary, Ingushetia has become a land without accountability. Killings may be attributed to the Russian government, local authorities, separatist rebels or Chechens. Lives disappear in the tangle of overlain bureaucracy and shrugged shoulders.
Interestingly, the Chechens seem to have become the Kremlin's sort of shock troops in recent years (since Kadyrov's turning). Pictures emerged last year, in the early days of the Georgian war, showing BMPs in the Russian invasion force with "Yamadayevtsi" graffiti, manned by irregulars. Here's some analysis from that time:
(Ralph Peters later did a story on this same subject. Of course, he used it as evidence that we should be going to war with those dirty, inscrutable Russkies. Or something.)
a number of the Russian tanks and armored vehicles have “Chechnya Vostok" and “Yamadayevtsi” painted on the hulls.
The Eastern Battalion (Chechnya) is composed of loyalist (pro-Moscow) Chechens; they are led by a man named Sulim Yamadayev, who is — along with Ramzan Kadyrov, a name you might know — among the most influential loyalist Chechen warlords. He fought against the Russians in the first Chechen War (pre-1996), and eventually turned with Kadyrov. If you listen to him, it’s because he opposed the Islamic extremists who gained control of the Chechen separatist movement. Others say Putin bought him off.
In any event, what this means is that the Russians have committed battle-hardened veterans to Georgia, not their poorly-paid, poorly-trained, and poorly-equipped regulars. Also interesting to see this war against a Caucasian people being prosecuted by other Caucasians who have felt the brunt of Russian oppression.
Also of note: the British media has reported that the Yamadayevtsi (what those of the Eastern Battalion call themselves) routinely sexually abuse and torture captured civilians to death, also often severing the heads of enemy dead.
In any event, I guess I don't have much of a point with all these peripherals except to say that considering Russia's history with quelling Islamist, ethnic, and separatist insurgency, and Kadyrov's history of involvement in this sort of dirty business, I wouldn't rule anything out at this stage. If we later find that Kadyrov's people are responsible for the "insurgent" violence, giving the government an opportunity and rationale for cracking down, I won't be the least bit surprised. Nor would I be if he was acting without Moscow's approval.
Worth keeping an eye on it.