Russian Authorities Shut Down Opposition Web Site

    January 31, 2008

A Web site in the southern Russian region of Ingushetia blamed local authorities on Thursday of attempting to shut it down after it organized protests and posted details of kidnaps and murders. was one of the only sources of information that was critical of authorities from the mostly Muslim region bordering Chechnya. The site promoted and helped organize a protest Saturday where demonstrators carrying gasoline bombs clashed with police and burned a pro-government newspaper office.

On Thursday the Web site was shut down, founder Magomed Evloev said, accusing authorities of hacking into the site to try and quiet the dissenters. "This is the action of the Ingush authorities," he said, Reuters reported. "They want to silence us and all the people of Ingushetia, but they will not succeed."

Civil unrest has been increasing in Ingushetia and Dagestan, which border Chechnya, where most of the population is unemployed and where kidnaps, murders and shootouts between police and rebels happen frequently.

The Kremlin is working to establish a seamless transition of power at a March 2 presidential election when Vladimir Putin will step down, has told Russia’s mainstream media to withhold reporting details of the fighting and unrest.