22 March 2010, 09:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of March 15-21

Elections of local governments in the south of Russia; a new scandal in Armenian-Turkish relations; Russia allocates new billions to Abkhazia and South Ossetia, - look up these and other events in the review of the week of March 15-21, 2010, in Caucasian regions prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Local elections in the Southern and North-Caucasian Federal Districts (SFD and NCFD)

On the United Russian Voting Day - on March 14 - in Rostov-on-Don, at the election of Mayor, the incumbent city head - Mikhail Chernyshov - was the winner with 74 percent of votes.

In the Rostov Region, out of 26 incumbent administration heads 17 were re-elected. According to the Regional Electoral Committee (REC), on March 14 in the Rostov Region all 40 heads of municipal formations and 707 deputies of representative bodies of cities and districts were elected. Mandates were granted to 31 nominees of the "Edinaya Rossiya" (United Russia) Party (out of 40 nominated candidates), two communists (apart from Novocherkassk, the nominee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) became the head of the Obliv District); 19 members of the LDPR lost all the elections to their rivals; one nominee of the "Spravedlivaya Rossiya" (Fair Russia) Party took the post, and six victories belong to self-nominated off-party candidates.

At elections of deputies to city and municipal district representative bodies, the "Edinaya Rossiya" received 475 mandates for 689 nominees; the CPRF - 40 mandates (for 309 nominees); LDPR - 9 mandates (for 264 nominees); "Spravedlivaya Rossiya" - 42 mandates (for 265 nominees); and several mandates were won by self-nominees at this level. At elections of eight heads of rural settlements all the winners were nominated by the "Edinaya Rossiya" Party.

According to Sergey Yusov, Chairman of the REC, the elections to local governments of the Rostov Region unusually abounded in false agitation materials.

As a whole, for the Rostov Region, every regional branch of each political party regards the passed elections as successful.

However, in the city of Shakhty (Rostov Region) the opposition will protest against the election outcomes. According to Sergey Mironov, head of the regional branch of the "Yabloko" Party, the elections in Shakhty revealed a whole "bouquet" of roughest violations. In its turn, the Shakhty City CPRF Committee reports facts of "rough violations of constitutional rights and freedoms of city dwellers."

In the Krasnodar Territory, Vladimir Evlanov, incumbent city Mayor and nominee of the "Edinaya Rossiya" Party, was the winner with 66.89 percent of votes.

Candidates from this Party ("Edinaya Rossiya") won elections in ten districts of the Krasnodar Territory: Abin, Vyselkovskiy, Krasnoarmeiskiy, Crimean, Kurganinskiy, Kuschevskiy, Labinskiy, Otradnenskiy, Primorsko-Akhtarskiy and Slavyanskiy. All the winners are either incumbent or acting administration heads.

Also, the territory held early election of the head of Goryachi Klyuch (Hot Spring). Nikolai Shvartsman who had earlier led the resort in the course 15 years won with 92.22 percent of votes.

At elections to the City Assembly of Sochi most of the votes at multi-mandate electoral constituencies were gathered by 45 nominees from the "Edinaya Rossiya" Party; 2 deputies were elected from the LDPR, 1 - from CPRF, and 2 deputies who had self-nominated. However, a number of election losers, nominees rejected from registration, observers, members of electoral committees and local residents report about numerous violations in the course of voting and believe the outcomes were illegitimate.

Turkish authorities promise to evict illegal Armenian migrants

On March 16, in the course of his visit to London, Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan told about possible deportation of 100,000 illegal migrants from Armenia out of his country. He made this statement in answer to the question about Ankara's reaction to recognition by some national parliaments of Armenians' genocide in the Ottoman Empire.

"170,000 Armenians live in my country; of them 70,000 are Turkish citizens. Tomorrow, if necessary, I'll tell these 100,000, whom we now deal with, to leave our country. I'll do it because they're not my citizens, and I am not obliged to keep them in the country," said Mr Erdogan.

Later, however, he explained that he was not going to start immediate enforcing his threat, and his words about eviction of Armenians had been distorted. The statement in London was aimed at drawing the attention of the world community to residence of illegal Armenians in Turkey and to the humane Turkish government's approach to this fact, as Mr Erdogan explained.

Tigran Sarkisyan, his Armenian counterpart, said, in his comments on the statement of Turkish Premier that similar threats awaken in Armenians' memory the horrors of the 1915 genocide.

The Prime Minister of Armenia also drew attention to the fact that under the data available at the Armenian government, the number of Armenian emigrants in Turkey is several times smaller that what Mr Erdogan had quoted.

Let us note here that the new Armenian-Turkish scandal burst out at the background of recognition of the massacre of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide by Swedish MPs.

By the way, last week in Sweden the oppositional social-democratic party of Sweden filed a suit against Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and assured their Turkish colleagues that the resolution passed by the Swedish parliament about Armenians' genocide would not have the force of the law. The opposition accuses the Premier of acting against the Swedish legislation.

Russian billions for Abkhazia and South Ossetia

Russia continues rendering powerful financial support to Sukhumi and Tskhinvali.

Within three years to come, the budget of the Russian Federation will allot 10 billion roubles for social and economic development of Abkhazia, said Sergey Shamba, Prime Minister of this republic. According to his story, the governments of Abkhazia and Russia are jointly developing the perspective comprehensive plan of assistance in development of Abkhazia.

"We should present such projects, which will enable efficient progress in all these directions," said the head of Abkhazian government.

However, Moscow estimates the volume of financial donations as somewhat more modest. In 2010-2012, Russia will give Abkhazia 3 billion roubles under the Complex Plan of contributing to social and economic development of the republic. This was stated on March 19 by Victor Basargin, head of the Ministry for Regional Development of Russia.

At the same time, according to the Minister, 5.7 billion roubles will be allotted this year from Russia's federal budget on restoration of the Republic of South Ossetia.

In Tskhinvali, Zurab Kabisov, Chairman of the State Committee for Implementing South Ossetia Restoration Projects, said that 429 houses should be built anew, 57 more households need capital repairs, in addition to 700 houses subject to partial restoration. Thus, according to Mr Kabisov, this item of expenditures only needs 1.2 billion roubles.

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