Ingushetia profile - Leaders

President: Yunus-Bek Yevkurov

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Yevkurov was brought in to stem the violence gripping the republic in 2008

A highly-decorated career soldier, Yunus-Bek Yevkurov was appointed by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to replace Murat Zyazikov as president of Ingushetia in October 2008.

Mr Zyazikov had come in for sustained criticism from opposition groups over his perceived failure to combat corruption, solve disputes with North Ossetia over refugees or reduce attacks on the security forces by Islamists.

The brutal methods used by the security forces to crush a small group of separatists fighting for an independent Islamic state in the region had helped to push some locals into supporting the Islamist cause, and Mr Yevkurov was faced with the challenge of trying to regain the confidence of the Ingush people.

He was severely wounded in a suicide bomb attack in June 2009. He spent two months recovering from his injuries at a resort near Moscow and then returned home promising to wage a "merciless" fight against terrorism.

In 2015, he condemned the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad as "extremism". Soon after, thousands attended a rally against such cartoons in the Ingush capital, Magas.

Born in 1963, Mr Yevkurov came to prominence as commander of the Russian troops who took control of Pristina airport in Kosovo ahead of advancing NATO troops in 1999. This secured Russia's presence in the disputed region.

He was made a Hero of Russia, the country's highest honorary title, for his actions in bringing his troops out of encirclement during fighting with separatists in Chechnya in 2000.