Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, leader of Russia’s North Caucasus republic of Ingushetia, has set up a hotline to talk to members of the armed opposition who decide to return to a peaceful life, an administration spokesman said on Monday.
The hotline is intended for “members of illegal armed groups and their accomplices who want to give up their criminal ways,” the spokesman said.
“The number to call is 8-928-093-29-29.”
Yevkurov will be physically unable to answer all the incoming calls so they will be handled for him by a special team including his aides and staff members of the republic’s Security Council.
“If need be, Yunus-Bek Bamatgireyevich [Yevkurov] will get back to a caller,” the spokesman said.
Yevkurov has pledged leniency and assistance in social adaptation to all terrorists who decide to return to a peaceful life and telephone him.
In an interview with the daily Izvestia he said he had some positive experiences.
“Those who got to me in 2009 and 2010 have not returned to insurgency since,” he said.
There is an estimated 30-50 “active militants” in the republic at present, Yevkurov said.
“I believe that 100 percent of them may call.”
The number of terrorist attacks since Yevkurov became the head of Ingushetia in October 2008 has not declined, and experts point out that there is no dialog within society.
Over a decade after the end of a war against Islamist separatists in Russia’s North Caucasus republic of Chechnya, Russian security forces continue to fight militants across the volatile region.
The Islamist insurgency, once confined largely to Chechnya, has spread in recent years across the North Caucasus. Attacks on security forces, police and civilians are also reported regularly in the neighboring republics of Dagestan and Kabardino-Balkaria.