12 January 2010, 01:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of January 4-10

Aggravation of situation in Dagestan; attempts to launch Russia-Georgia air flights and failure of a meeting on incident prevention in the Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone, - look up these and other events in the review of the week of January 4-10, 2010, in Caucasian regions prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

New detentions on Georgian-South-Ossetian border

On Tuesday, January 5, at about 7 a.m., Gennady Pliev, an employee of the state security of South Ossetia, disappeared in Shanghai, pre-border district of South Ossetia. Under the statement of the South-Ossetian party, Pliev was detained by Georgian special agents in the Ossetian territory.

The Georgian party confirmed arrest of Pliev, but stated that he had penetrated with arms to the territory controlled by the Georgian party. Pliev was placed into SIZO (pre-trial prison) in Georgia, while the Prosecutor's Office of South Ossetia initiated a criminal case on kidnapping. Pliev will be tried after expiry of his two-month pre-trial custody.

On January 8, it became known that the meeting under the mechanism on incident prevention in the Caucasus, initiated by the observers of the European Union in Georgia, failed. The reason, according to the Georgian party, was in refusal of Russia and South Ossetia to take part in negotiations.

The previous meeting of this sort, planned for November 19 last year, was also broken. Then, South Ossetia requested from Georgia information about the fate of detained Ossetians.

Aggravation of situation in Dagestan

In the morning on January 6, in Makhachkala, a terrorist-suicide bomber in a car tried to ram through the gate of the battalion of the city GIBDD (State Traffic Safety Inspectorate), where at that time plenty of road policemen gathered prior to going to their posts. However, at the last moment, prior to the entry, a special fire team blocked the gate with their jeep. The team fighters rushed into terrorist's car and blew up together with him.

The power of the explosive was about 100 kilos in trotyl equivalent. 5 militiamen were lost, and 24 more, including civilians, were wounded.
The explosion damaged about 100 private and service automobiles; windows in apartment houses and industrial buildings at the distance of 200 meters around were broken.

President of Russia Dmitri Medvedev, as reported by his press secretary Natalia Timakova, instructed Rashid Nurgaliev, Minister of Internal Affairs of Russia, "to render the necessary help to victims of the terror act and casualties' families." Apart from the material aid to victims and families, funds will be allocated to buy new cars for the GIBDD.

As reported by Director of the Russian FSB (Federal Security Bureau) Alexander Bortnikov, the organizers of the terror act were members of the grouping of Umalat Magomedov, also known as "Al-Bara".

On that very day sappers neutralized a bomb planted under the railway track not far from Makhachkala. Under preliminary information, its power was 10 kilos of trotyl.

In the evening, in Korkmaskala village, Kumtorkalin District of Dagestan, a house was blocked with militants inside, as power agents asserted. It was kept in siege for the whole night, and in the morning of the following day it was stormed, and two suspected militants were liquidated. One of them was identified as Magomed Ichakaev, born in 1972, a native of Karamakhi village, Buinaksk District of Dagestan, and an aide, as law enforcers assert, of militants' leader Vagabov. It was announced that the liquidated militants had to do with the terror act at the GIBDD on January 6. Two special fighters were injured, and Senior Ensign Denis Romanov, an employee of the special-purpose service of the Russian FSB and a resident of the Stavropol Territory, was lost.

On January 7 in Makhachkala, an employee of the extradepartmental security service of the Kirov ROVD (District Interior Unit) was murdered in his own house.

On January 8, President Medvedev emphasized that the tough policy towards methodical liquidation of militants in Northern Caucasus should be continued. "In what concerns bandits, our policy remains the same. They should be just liquidated; and it should be done toughly and systematically, that is - regularly, because, unfortunately, the bandit underground still exists," he said.

On that very day, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia and the Investigatory Committee at the Prosecutor's Office made a decision to set up a special investigatory group for solving resonant crimes committed in Dagestan.

On the following day, January 9, near the capital of Dagestan, militiamen opened fire on a suspicious car after the driver gave no reaction to the order to stop. The car blew up killing three supposed militants. One of them was later identified by FSB agents as Marat Kurbanov - "Emir of Makhachkala".

Russia and Georgia exchange flights

On January 8, for the first time after the August 2008 events in South Ossetia, a direct Tbilisi-Moscow charter flight took place. The craft arrived in the capital of Russia from the Tbilisi international airport. The permit to make the flights was granted to the "Georgian Airways" by the Ministry of Transports of Russia.

By January 10, the airline "Airzena-Georgian Airways" completed all the Tbilisi-Moscow-Tbilisi flights, allowed by the Aviation department of the above Russian Ministry.

However, as reported by Gela Gventsadze, spokesman of the Georgian airline, two Tbilisi-St Petersburg charter flights were cancelled because of absence of passengers, and the flight from Tbilisi to Moscow was half-empty.

The celebration flights took place at the background of practically full absence of Russian-Georgian diplomatic relations. On January 6, David Bakradze, chairman of the Georgia parliament, said that the Russian-Georgian war in August 2008 caused a serious damage to residents of Georgia, aggravated to the limit its relation with the northern neighbour and in many aspects decelerated the progress of the Georgian state.

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