20 July 2010, 01:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of July 12-18

One year after Natalia Estemirova's murder; forced eviction of Imereti residents from "Olympic" lands; start of ethnographic expedition of Russian bloggers to the Caucasus, - look these and other events in the review of the week of July 12-18, 2010, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

One year after Estemirova's murder: public demands inquiry results

Last week commemoration actions were held in Russia and abroad dated to one year after Natalia Estemirova, an employee of Chechen branch of the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial", was kidnapped in the morning on July 15, 2009, in Grozny, the capital of Chechnya and in the evening of that very day she was found assassinated in Ingushetia.

In Grozny, a number of human rights and public organizations of Chechnya and activists of Ingush NGOs held a rally in memory of Natalia Estemirova. In the Journalists' Mini-Park, near the monument to perished journalists, public figures, human rights activists, journalists, friends and relatives of the human rights defender placed a big portrait of Estemirova. Then, the Moslem religious rite movlid (a pray and a joint meal) was served in her memory. The participants of the picket stated that the authorities are not interested to find and punish the true executors and organizers of the murder.

In Moscow, Estemirova's colleagues, human rights activists and journalists held a memorial picket, where some 70 person demanded objective investigation of the crime and due punishment of its customers and executors. They placed right on the asphalt posters with names of human rights defenders and journalists murdered in recent years: Magomed Evloev, Maksharip Aushev, Farid Babaev, Anna Politkovskaya and Natalia Estemirova. Inscriptions were made nearby: "You can't kill the truth" and "We demand investigation".

Then, the conference hall of the Society "Memorial" hosted a memorial party, where about 100 persons gathered. Photos of Natalia Estemirova, taken mainly in Chechnya, were placed on the walls of the hall. After listening to the speeches, the audience held a memorial minute of silence.

The Amnesty International has accused Russian authorities that they "fail to show political will towards impartial and effective investigation of Natalia Estemirova's murder."

President of Russia Dmitri Medvedev assured that the executor of the murder had been precisely established; he was announced into international search, and the investigation of this crime "is at full swing", and "actions are underway to establish the customer of the murder."

Imereti residents are forced out of "Olympic" sites

On July 16, Sochi authorities started compulsory eviction of residents from their houses in the Imereti Lowland, where Olympic objects will be built. This week the Adler District Court has issued respective court orders. Those who failed to buy new houses or apartments are accommodated in boarding houses.

The local authorities announced resettlement on July 8, and already on the following day court marshals initiated executive proceedings and asked tenants to move out in the near future.

The Sochi administration reported that 102 cottages with land plots were ready for housing in Nekrasovskoe settlement, where living conditions are essentially better than in Imereti, where there was no centralized water and gas supply.

Meanwhile, not all the Imereti residents are happy with the variants offered by the authorities and state disproportion of the terms. The Lowland is in a nice area near the sea, while people are offered new houses in mountain villages and near airport radars.

Supreme Court of Kalmykia confirms: Burulov is guilty

On July 16, the Supreme Court of Kalmykia upheld the verdict to former mayor of Elista Radiy Burulov, sentenced to four years of conditional imprisonment for abusing official powers.

On March 29, the Elista City Court found Burulov guilty on two episodes under part 2, Article 285, of the Russian Criminal Code and sentenced him to 4 years of conditional imprisonment with a 3-year trial period. The court also deprived him of the right to take state official posts for 3 years. The ex-mayor's defence appealed against the verdict at the Supreme Court of Kalmykia.

Now, the advocates want to address the European Court of Human Rights.

In Astrakhan, teachers are on hunger strike for free-of-charge children's circles

Teachers of the Astrakhan Centre for Aesthetic Upbringing of Children and Youth, who stand against closure of free-of-charge circles for children, last week resumed their protest hunger strike against the decision to reorganize their Centre.

The activists are afraid that after transformation of the Centre children's circles will work only for money and demand to return the status of the Regional State Educational Establishment of Additional Education of Children to their Centre and the former name.

Ethnographic expedition led by Artemiy Lebedev leaves for the Caucasus

On July 15, the Vorobyovy Mounts in Moscow saw a start of an ethnographic expedition of Russian bloggers who plan to tour over Northern and Southern Caucasus, and Kazakhstan.

The expedition is organized by the well-known Russian designer and blogger Artemiy Lebedev and will last till mid-August. During this period, its participants will visit the Russian regions in the Caucasus, and Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.

Mr Lebedev promised in his Internet diary that his group would drive through dozens of cities and present detailed reports. First impressions and photo reports about the start of the travel have already appeared.

The bloggers have already visited the Rostov Region, Stavropol Territory, Kabardino-Balkaria, Ingushetia and the city of Beslan in North Ossetia, which became world-known for the tragic events in the Beslan School in September 2004.

Transkam road accident takes away 11 lives

On July 18, a bus Vladikavkaz-Tskhinvali got out of Rokskiy Tunnel and drove along the Trans-Caucasian Highway (known as "Transkam") in the territory of South Ossetia, but suddenly dropped into the abyss near the Ruk River.

As a result of the road accident, 11 persons, including two children, were lost, out of 23 passengers and a driver in total.

The reasons of the accident are investigated. Under preliminary data, the bus driver broke traffic rules.

See also: "Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of July 5-11", "Week in the Caucasus: review of main events on June 28 - July 4," "Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of June 21-27," "Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of June 14-20."

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