The search for residents of Ingushetia and North Ossetia proved fruitless. The situation with their disappearance, the unsuccessful search and uncertainty reminded us of how Zalina Yalkharoyeva went missing 12 years ago.

Investigators have already opened a murder investigation, having so far been powerless to determine the whereabouts of Adam Arsaev and Rimma Gagloeva, who disappeared on February 6.

An incident of the same level of resonance was reported in Ingushetia in 2010. Then a 30-year-old resident of Ingushetia, Zalina Yalkharoyeva, went missing. She and her relative Liana Eldieva and lawyer Marem Bagaudinova were returning home from Vladikavkaz by cab.

All we know about Yalkharoeva is that her car was stopped by a traffic police officer on the «Kavkaz» highway in North Ossetia. Nearby stood four armored UAZ and a VAZ-2114. Armed men in camouflage and masks checked everyone’s documents. At gunpoint, they put Zalina into a VAZ and drove her away. They told the cab driver, Eldieva and Bagaudinova to wait for Yalkharoyeva by the police station at the «Chermensky Krug». After that, the search for the missing person began, but to no avail.

There was a report of a kidnapping. Her relatives rushed to look for Zalina. The criminal case on kidnapping was opened only 1.5 months later. The scene was inspected another month later. And then the investigation received a printout of phone calls from Zalina’s number on the day of the kidnapping. But none of the people she talked to were ever questioned. Among them, by the way, was an FSB officer.

The lawyer Bagaudinova and the cab driver were questioned many months later. Liana Eldieva was not questioned at all. The investigation received footage from traffic cameras and identified 15 cars crossing the border between Chechnya and Ingushetia on the day of the abduction. Four UAZs belonged to the Ministry of Internal Affairs — the passengers of only one of them were questioned. The investigation also requested information about FSB vehicles passing through the border, but was denied access to this information.

Zalina’s father repeatedly complained to the court about the inaction of the investigator. The complainant confirmed that Zalina had apparently been kidnapped by the security forces. However, on August 17, 2012, the preliminary investigation was terminated «due to the failure to identify a person to be brought as an accused.

In 2020, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that there had been a violation of the substantive aspect of Article 2 of the Convention (right to life) in connection with the disappearance of Zalina Yalkharoyeva, and that there had been a violation of the procedural aspect of Article 2 of the Convention in connection with the authorities’ failure to investigate the incident. The court ordered the Russian authorities to pay 89,900 euros to Zalina’s father.

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