27 October 2009, 23:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of October 19-25

Execution of the ex-leader of Ingush opposition Maksharip Aushev; terror acts in Northern Caucasus; action of the opposition in Astrakhan, - look up these and other events in the review of the week of October 19-25 in the Caucasian regions prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Maksharip Aushev's murder

On October 25, in the 459th kilometre of the Federal Highway "Kavkaz", near the village of Nartan, Chegem District of Kabardino-Balkaria, the former leader of Ingush opposition Maksharip Aushev was shelled by unidentified persons from a passing-by car, when he was driving his black "Lada-Priora" towards Nalchik on the Nalchik-Nartan motorway. However, in the opinion of Magomed Khazbiev, today's leader of Ingush opposition, the Aushev's car was shelled from three sides. Law enforcers found at least 60 automatic firearm cartridge cases in the place of the murder.

Maksharip Aushev died in situ. His cousin who was with him in the car was wounded and brought to one of the hospitals of the Chegem District.

During presidency of Murat Zyazikov, Maksharip Aushev was one of the leaders of the Ingush opposition and was known for his active struggle with the then system of power. When Zyazikov was replaced by the incumbent President Yunus-Bek Evkurov, Aushev made a public statement about his departure from politics, explaining that the Ingush opposition had achieved its main goal - change of the President of the republic.

In the opinion of Ekaterina Sokiryanskaya, an employee of the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial", this murder was a revenge to Maksharip Aushev for "his organizing the opposition and being its core" in Ingushetia.

Conflict in Northern Caucasus

On October 23, in the Leninskiy District of Grozny, power agents shot dead a man who tried to drive into the territory of the erected memorial complex in the Dudaeva Boulevard, which was visited at that moment by Deputy of Russian State Duma from Chechnya Adam Delimkhanov and where President of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov was to arrive. The criminal used a VAZ-2114 car stuffed with explosives to commit a suicidal terror act. He was Beslan Bashtaev, earlier declared as Amir of Urus-Martan.

However, local observers note certain discrepancies in this information. "It was asserted that the car of the terrorist-suicide bomber was with tinted glasses. But security guards of the memorial complex managed to see a barrel with explosive inside. It was later announced that the liquidated Beslan Bashtaev was Amir of Urus-Martan, but earlier certain Abdul-Malik had been always presented as Amir of the Jama'at of the Urus-Martan District," said an activist of the local human rights NGO "Abu".

On October 22, in Michurina settlement of the Oktiabrskiy District of the Chechen capital, Said-Emin Khizriev was killed, according to militiamen - Amir of the city of Gudermes. It was reported that he was also preparing a terror act against Ramzana Kadyrov.

On that very day and in the same district of the Chechen capital two guys and two girls were killed during a special operation; power agents asserted that the young people had also prepared suicidal terror acts. It was reported that the house, where they tried to hide, was a sort of a mini-factory for manufacturing self-made explosives.

On October 21, in Goity village, Urus-Martan District of Chechnya, employees of the republic's law enforcement bodies blocked two supposed members of armed formations, who tried to hide in a private house. In a skirmish that lasted for several hours both men were killed. One law enforcer who took part in the operation perished and two more were wounded.

On that very day, in the Oktiabrskiy District of Grozny, suicide bomber Zaurbek Khashumov, 17, blew himself up, when patrol militiamen stopped him for a check. Four militiamen and a local resident, who occasionally happened to be at the incident, received fragmental wounds.

In Ingushetia, next to Chechnya, the situation was a bit less strained.

On October 22, in the city of Malgobek, a bomb exploded, which was planted near the house of Isa Korigov, head of the city criminal militia. The explosion was triggered when Isa with his wife and his driver where moving out of the yard. As a result of the explosion, all of them were wounded and hospitalized. The driver later died, and Korikov and his wife are still in hospital.

On October 21 in the evening, in the vicinity of Yandare village, Nazran District, in the Federal Highway "Kavkaz", unidentified persons shelled a stationary STSI (State Traffic Safety Inspectorate) post. Four militiamen suffered. About one our later, at the entrance to Yandare, a minivan with criminal experts who were moving to the STSI post was blown up. According to latest data, eight militiamen were hospitalized, and five more were rendered help in situ.

Opposition demands cancellation of Astrakhan Mayor election

The opposition in Astrakhan continues protest actions against violations at the election of Mayor on October 11. One of such actions took place on October 25 with participation of over 500 persons, who held in their hands red and yellow balloons, Medvedev's portraits and headers with slogans: "Our Mayor is Shein", "We're against lawlessness!" and "Bozhenov - to trial!"

At the same time, activists of the LDPR (Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia) continued their alternative pickets in protest against violations at the election.

On October 22, the Astrakhan Regional Duma held an expanded session initiated by the faction of the Party "Spravedlivaya Rossiya". The situation was discussed in the city after the election of the Mayor. At the same time, a non-sanctioned action of the opposition was held in the Savushkina Street with participation of some 200 persons. People made a line 300 meters long and kept ribbons in their hands.

Besides, Oleg Shein, an ex-candidate for the Mayor of Astrakhan and a member of "Spravedlivaya Rossiya" (Fair Russia) Party, addressed his open letter to President of Russia Dmitri Medvedev informing him about violations at the election of Mayor in Astrakhan. The letter was signed by a number of State Duma Deputies.

It was also reported with reference to Mr Shein that the prosecutor's office of Astrakhan tries to close the cases about the beatings of two journalists on the voting day.

Meanwhile, the Public Prosecutor of the Astrakhan Region Oleg Dupak addressed Astrakhan Governor Alexander Zhilkin asking him to stop the opposition's activity.

Debates in Turkey of resumed relations with Armenia

The process of initialling the Armenian-Turkish Protocols caused a huge resonance both in the world and in both countries' societies.

On October 21, the parliament of Turkey began discussing the Protocols, and on October 22 the debates continued. After the speech of the Foreign Minister, spokesman of the parliamentary parties scarified the agreements with Armenia. During the speech of Omer Chelik, an MP from the ruling party "Justice and Development", oppositional deputies left the hall in protest.

The official Yerevan refrains from setting the dates for ratification of the protocols. However, prior to ratification by the National Assembly of Armenia, the Armenian-Turkish Protocols will be examined by the Constitutional Court for conformity to the country's constitution, as reported by Samvel Farmanyan, press secretary of the President of Armenia.

Meanwhile, on October 22, the faction of the ARF "Dashnaktsutsyun" of the National Assembly of Armenia presented a bill to the parliament according to which criminal liability is introduced for denial of Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire. "A denial, mitigation, approval, justification or renunciation of the genocide of Armenians in the time of the Ottoman Turkey, entails punishment by a fine or imprisonment for 3-5 years," runs the offered amendment.

At the same time, the Constantinople Patriarchy of the Armenian Apostolic Church welcomed the attempts to normalize Armenian-Turkish relations. The statement of the Patriarchy emphasizes that ways of peaceful dialogue should be searched.

At the background of these events, Senators Robert Menendes and John Ensign presented for debates to the US Senate a new resolution on genocide of the Armenians. The resolution is not yet on the Senate's agenda, and nobody knows so far when it happens.

Nomination of candidates for Abkhazian President

Abkhazia continues nominating candidates for the presidential election to take place on December 12, 2009.

On October 23, the Fourth Congress of the Republic's Political Party of Economic Development of Abkhazia (EDA) took place in Sukhumi. During the Congress, the EDA approved its nominee to the post of the President of Abkhazia - Chairman of the Party Beslan Butba.

According to Mr Butba, the programme of social and economic development of Abkhazia, developed by the EDA will cover 5 years. As a result of its implementation, the average annual number of workers will reach 50,000 persons. The average monthly salary will go up to 20,000 roubles, and the average age pension - 3000 roubles. And the state budget (without Russia's help) will grow up to 10 billion roubles.

On that very day, the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) registered the initiative group on nomination of Mr Aiba, Dzhamalik Vladimirovich, as a candidate for the President. Aiba, born in 1964, is temporarily unemployed.

On October 20, the oppositional Republic's (National) Political Party "Forum of National Unity of Abkhazia" (FNUA), the Public Organization of Veterans of the Patriotic War of the People of Abkhazia "Aruaa" and the Public Organization "Akhyatsa" supported the initiative group, which had nominated Raul Khadzhimba as a candidate for President of the Republic of Abkhazia. The initiative group for nominating the ex-Vice-President of the Republic Khadzhimba as a candidate for the Presidents of the Republic was registered by the CEC of Abkhazia on October 19.

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