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Anonymous Telegram channel apologizes for insulting mayor in Ingushetia after he vows to ‘find and punish’ them

Meduza

The anonymous Telegram channel 338 has issued a public apology to Magas Mayor Beslan Tsechoev, who recently vowed to “find and punish” the channel’s authors for a post that he deems insulting.

In a post on Friday, 338 said its March 13 comments about Tsechoev were “unfounded” and expressed irresponsibly. The individual who wrote the offending post is apparently no longer an administrator for the channel.

“We deeply regret that our team permitted this, insulting someone, his colleagues, friends, and family. We failed to review this situation in a timely manner, lost track, and didn’t catch it,” 338 said in a statement.

The staff writer removed from the list of administrators was apparently responsible for much of 338’s content about politics and policies in Russia’s North Caucasus, which means the channel’s reporting on these issues will now decline.

According to the online tabloids 360 and Baza, Mayor Beslan Tsechoev vowed in a Facebook post on March 13 to “find and punish justly within the bounds of the law” the channel’s authors for their “immoral statements.” He quickly deleted the post, though not before readers recorded screenshots. In the post, Tsechoev indicated that 338’s authors live in St. Petersburg, though he didn’t reveal how he knows this.

On March 12, Poland-based Chechen blogger Tumso Abdurakhmanov claimed that Chechen Parliament Speaker Magomed Daunov declared a blood feud against him because he called Chechnya’s first president, Akhmat Kadyrov, a traitor. Spokespeople for Daunov later denied this, blaming the misunderstanding on a deliberately distorted translation.