03 August 2010, 23:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of July 26-August 1

Attacks on militiamen in Astrakhan; protests of Abkhazian refugees in Tbilisi; rallies in defence of the freedom of assembly in the cities of Russia's south, - look these and other events in the review of the week of July 26-August 1, 2010, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Geneva Debates on Transcaucasia: no new results

The twelfth round of debates on safety in Transcaucasia was held on July 27 in Geneva. Traditionally, debates were held in two groups - on safety and humanitarian issues.

Before the session, Abkhazia announced that it would reduce the level of its presentation in the discussions, since after eleven rounds "no real progress was reached."

On July 27, after many hours of debates the parties again failed to reach any results in drafting an agreement on non-use of force against South Ossetia and Abkhazia. It was decided to hold the next round of debates on October 14, where each of the parties will once again present its written proposals.

Astrakhan is concerned of attacks on militiamen

In Astrakhan, on July 27 and 28 three unidentified persons attacked the militiamen, who were on their service in the Bratskiy Garden and in the area of Kubanskaya Street. As a result, an employee of the patrol-sentry service died in situ; a woman-agent of the same service and three servicemen of the extradepartmental security service received gunshot wounds and were hospitalized.

The website of the UVD (Interior Department) of the Astrakhan Region has placed identikits of the suspects, stating that some "interethnic gang" of three bandits is attacking city militiamen. Under the version of the investigation, the grouping includes natives of Central Asia, Caucasus and a person of Slavic appearance.

These two crimes have excited Astrakhan, where attacks on employees of law enforcement bodies were extremely seldom before.

Refugees from Abkhazia hold protests in Tbilisi

On July 28 and 30, in Tbilisi, in front of the building of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, refugees from Abkhazia demanded to cancel their eviction from the places of their compact accommodation.

The pretext to start the action was eviction on July 26 of 23 refugee families out of the building of the "Samshoblo" Publishing House; earlier the House had a hotel in one of its blocks. In 2008, the hotel rooms, uninhabited for a long time, were granted to refugees.

According to the Ministry on Refugees' Matters and Accommodation, houses are prepared in the Zugdidi District of Georgia for resettling the refugees from the "Samshoblo" Hotel. However, refugees are not happy, as, in their opinion, they will have nothing to live on in Zugdidi. They threaten to refuse from their Georgian citizenship should the authorities fail to solve their housing problems.

Kadyrov versus Orlov: investigation is over; the case goes to court

The investigation on the criminal case initiated against Oleg Orlov, head of the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial", accused of slandering President of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov is over. On Friday, July 30, at the Prosecutor's Office of the Tsentralny Administrative District of Moscow, Mr Orlov was presented the bill of particulars. Now, the case will be sent to the court.

"Strategy-31" rallies held in South of Russia

On July 31, rallies in support of the All-Russian action "Strategy-31" were held in the cities of the South of Russia. The participants demand that the authorities respect Article 31 of the Russian Constitution, which guarantees citizens' right to peaceful assemblies. Such rallies are held all over Russia for more than a year already on every month having 31 days.

In July, actions under the "Strategy-3" campaign took place in 42 regions of Russia. Astrakhan, Krasnodar, Sochi, Elista, Volgograd, Taganrog, Rostov-on-Don, Novocherkassk and Stavropol were among hosting cities. In every city, the rallies were some 10-50 persons strong. In many regions, actions were not coordinated with the authorities, but they took place all the same.

For the first time the capital of Kalmykia took part in the action and brought together 12 participants.

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