15 December 2010, 23:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of December 6-12

Death of "Spartak" fan in Moscow and murders of students in Rostov-on-Don and Vladikavkaz again aggravate ethnic conflicts in Russia; Northern Caucasus sees incessant explosions, assaults and special operations, more and more heating the situation in the region; Georgian MPs criticize but adopt the "Freedom Charter" in the second reading, - look these and other events in the review of the week of December 6-12, 2010, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

NATIONAL ISSUE TOPICAL AGAIN

A series of highly resonant conflicts, which resulted in deaths of three young men in Moscow, Rostov-on-Don and Vladikavkaz, have once again raised the issue of interethnic relations before the multinational Russia.

Football and xenophobia: what is in common?

The brawl of football fans with natives of Northern Caucasus that burst out at night on December 6 in Moscow resulted not only in death of one of the participants, but also in subsequent mass rallies, nationalist actions and turmoil not only in the Russian capital, but also in other cities.

In the course of a mass brawl at night on December 6 in Kronshtadt Boulevard in Moscow, Yegor Sviridov, a fan of the Moscow football club "Spartak" was shot dead from a traumatic pistol. Not far from the scene of the incident, Aslan Cherkesov, 26, a resident of Kabardino-Balkaria, was detained. Militiamen found a traumatic pistol on him. In total, the militia detained six fighters; however, eventually, most of them were soon set free. As to the detained Cherkesov, the court ruled to arrest him for two months - till February 6, 2011. Cherkesov himself announced his innocence, saying that his actions were self-defence and he shot blindly, without aiming.

On December 11, the Zamoskvoretskiy Moscow Court also decided to keep in custody two natives of Dagestan - Khasan Ibragimov and Nariman Ismailov, who were detained on Friday, December 10, for participation in the mass brawl in Kronshtadt Boulevard, where Sviridov was killed.

For several days in Moscow, football fans and nationalists hold their actions, accompanied by riots. On December 11, football fans gathered in Manege Square - to commemorate Yegor Sviridov. The riots, during which, as reported earlier, 29 persons were injured, began with beating migrants from the Caucasus after the commemoration rally. As a result, some 65 persons were taken to the nearby OVD (Interior Division). Currently, they are all back at large.

On the same day in St Petersburg, Pioneer Square in front of Young Spectators' Theatre was also the venue of a sanctioned rally in memory of the deceased fan. The audience lit candles and gathered donations. As reported by eyewitnesses, after the rally, its participants did not disperse, but organized a march, blocking the traffic in several streets in downtown St Petersburg. They marched from Pioneer Square across Sennaya Square to Gostiny Dvor. During the march, demonstrators several times attacked passing cars, broke car windows and clashed with drivers and militiamen. In total about 50 persons were detained.

Meanwhile, rights defenders point out that what happened at night on December 6 in Moscow should be thoroughly investigated; and it is too early to call Aslan Cherkesov, a native of Nalchik, the killer - his guilt is not proved yet.

Students' murders are investigated in Vladikavkaz and Rostov-on-Don

The interethnic situation in Rostov-on-Don has grown tense because of the investigation into the death of Maxim Sychov, a student of the Rostov State Building University, who died on November 27 from a trauma received from his classmate - a native of Ingushetia.

According to the investigation, the student suspected of murdering Sychov was regularly mastering his wrestling techniques using Sychov as a dummy; in one of such fights the latter received a head trauma - he was hospitalized in coma and died in hospital.

On Sunday, December 12, about a thousand people gathered to commemorate the slain student Maxim Sychov and demand punishment of perpetrators. Faces of many protesters were hidden under medical masks. People chanted slogans: "Rostov is a Russian city", "One for all and all for one" and "Russia is for Russians". Participants demanded to investigate the murder and punish those guilty.

Meanwhile, on that very day, the GUVD (Chief Interior Department) of the Rostov Region reported that in the evening on December 11 militiamen found and detained a suspect of committing this crime. The GUVD assured that "the detainee would face the appropriate punishment."

Last week in North Ossetia two participants of the mass brawl were detained; in the course of that brawl Kuanch Guliev, a student and a resident of Kabardino-Balkaria, was beaten and later died. According to the militia, now, other participants of the fight are searched; the collected materials have been handed over to the Investigatory Department of the Russian Investigatory Committee at the Prosecutor's Office (ICPO) for the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania.

Kuanch Guliev, died on December 5 after 8 days in coma in hospital in Vladikavkaz. His main traumas were a fracture of the skull base and two large brain haematomas.

EXPLOSIONS AND SHOTS HEARD IN NORTHERN CAUCASUS

Despite continued strengthening of law enforcement bodies, the situation in Northern Caucasus remains tense. Messages arrive incessantly from North-Caucasian republics about bombings, attacks, special operations, casualties and victims.

Thus, last week in Dagestan, attacks resulted in murder of a STSI (State Traffic Safety Inspectorate) inspector and wounds in four militiamen. One of them was wounded in a special operation in the village of Buglen on December 12. Then, the leader of the Buinaksk grouping of the armed underground and two other suspected militants were liquidated.

In Kabardino-Balkaria, on December 10 two employees of an Examination-Forensic Centre (EFC) at the local MIA suffered in Nalchik in an explosion in the course of studying an explosive device inside the Centre. One of the experts received shrapnel wounds in his arm and leg, and the second - a head injury.

On December 7, in the Sunzha District of Ingushetia (in the vicinity of the administrative border with Chechnya), Chechen militiamen conducted a special operation, in the course of which four persons were shot dead: Magomed Isaev, 21, Islam Makhauri, 31, Islam Karsamov, 21, Kazbek Makhauri, 17, who are regarded by power agents to be members of an illegal armed formation (IAF) under command of Magomed Isaev.

In Karachay-Cherkessia, on December 6, two residents of the republic were detained during a special operation aimed to search suspected members of the armed underground; they are suspected of waging war against federal forces.

PARLIAMENT OF GEORGIA AGREES TO "FREEDOM CHARTER"

In the end of last week the Georgian Parliament adopted the "Freedom Charter" in the second reading; the author of the document was Giya Tortladze, chairman of the opposition faction "Strong Georgia".

The bill deals with strengthened security measures, contains provisions on lustration and elimination of Soviet and Nazi symbols. The "Freedom Charter" combines the bill "On Lustration", assuming job restrictions for former intelligence agents of the Soviet Union and former top officials of the Communist Party and the Young Communist League (Komsomol), and the "Patriotic Act", which is a package of antiterrorism measures.

In the course of the repeated discussion, Jondi Bagaturiya, leader of the Party "Kartuli Dasi", criticized the Charter. "The sickle, hammer, nails and other tools have nothing in common with the evil forces, which are known as communism. While the law on lustration could be a subject of a serious discussion," he said.

In spite of debates, the bill was approved in the second reading by the majority of MPs.

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