11 November 2010, 23:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of November 1-7

Georgia found spies again; parties in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict exchange casualties and captives; more than 50 percent of voters took part in parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan; mass celebrations of the National Unity Day in southern Russia have been massive celebration, - look these and other events in the review of the week of November 1-7, 2010, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

National Unity Day in the Caucasus

On November 4, all the regions of the Southern and North-Caucasus Federal Districts (SFD and NCFD), as well as elsewhere in Russia, held various events dated to the National Unity Day.

The celebration of the National Unity Day acquired some politicized nature in Adygea, where activists of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) refused to celebrate the holiday, while the "Edinaya Rossiya" (United Russia) and the LDPR (Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia) held public events, and in North Ossetia, where a two-hour-long picket was held by the LDPR. In Krasnodar on that day, apart from official celebrations, despite the ban imposed by local authorities, nationalists held a march along the main street of the city.

In the Rostov Region, Volgograd, Kalmykia, Stavropol Territory, Chechnya and other regions of Southern Russia the National Unity Day was marked in the format of national festivals, concerts and folk festivities.

New parliament elected in Azerbaijan

On November 7, Azerbaijan elected its new parliament. The voting took place at 5314 polling stations created in 125 constituencies. The ballot papers contained names of 690 candidates who were running for 125 parliament seats.

According to preliminary data, by the end of voting, the voter turnout made 50.14 percent of the total electorate. The Azerbaijani Electoral Code does not assume the need of quorum for elections to be valid; they will be recognized as such at any turnout.

According to the press service of the CEC (Central Election Commission), no complaints about any serious violations were lodged to this body. Mazair Panakhov, head of the CEC, also stated absence of serious violations of the law during the elections. However, representatives of the opposition, observers and some journalists, who covered the parliamentary elections, reported about violations.

Georgia-Russia: another "spy scandal"

Last week, another scandal involving spies burst out in Georgia. On November 5, the Georgian MIA (Ministry of Internal Affairs) reported that under the operation named "Enver" the employees of the counterintelligence department of the Ministry detained 15 persons who collaborated with the Russia's secret services. Two of them were released after signing a deal with the investigation, and 13 people are in pre-trial custody. There are four Russian citizens among the detainees - Armen Gevorkyan, Ruben Shikoyan, Peter Devshiradze and Yuri Skrylnikov.

On that very day, the MIA disseminated an operative video of interrogation of two out of the 13 detainees arrested on charges of spying for Russia.

However, Russian law enforcement agencies assert that the detainees have nothing to do with Russian special services.

Nagorno-Karabakh: dialogue with exchange of casualties and captives

Last week, Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh continued exchange of casualties and POWs (prisoners of war) captured in the troops' contact line. The respective agreement was reached by Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia at their October meeting in Astrakhan. Then the return of bodies of Azerbaijani soldiers was discussed on November 2 by representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross with the Defence Minister of Nagorno-Karabakh.

On November 4, Azerbaijan handed over to Armenia the body of Manvel Saribekyan; while Armenia, in its turn, liberated Eldar Tagiev, a citizen of Azerbaijan, from captivity. Two days later, on November 6, Nagorno-Karabakh handed over to Azerbaijan the bodies of two Azerbaijani militaries - Mubariz Ibragimov and Farid Ahmedov. In return, the Karabakh received the body of Gavrosh Arustamyan, 86.

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