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Ingushetia bombing undercuts Russia's claims of a calmer neighborhood

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MOSCOW – No matter how many times the Kremlin declares victory and attempts to move on, the escalating violence spreading from Chechnya around Russia's seething North Caucasus region just won't go away.

A suicide bomber shattered the latest illusion of stability on Monday, slamming his explosives-laden car into a motorcade carrying the Kremlin-appointed president of Ingushetia, Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, seriously injuring him and killing two bodyguards.

Mr. Yevkurov, a former Russian military intelligence officer, was handed the job of pacifying Ingushetia after his predecessor, Murat Zyazikov was dismissed last October following repeated allegations that his security forces had committed indiscriminate acts of violence against civilians (read more Monitor coverage here).

Ingushetia, a tiny republic whose half-million people are ethnic kin to their Chechen neighbors, remained peaceful through two brutal Kremlin wars to bring Chechnya's separatist bid to heel. But, along with another mainly-Muslim republic, Dagestan, it has seen a major upsurge in violence in recent years (read more here).

"Since 2006, the numbers of violent acts in Dagestan and Ingushetia has grown much greater than those happening in Chechnya itself," says Andrei Soldatov, editor of Agentura.ru, a Website that specializes in news about Russia's security services.

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