19 January 2011, 23:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of January 10-16

Walk to the sea was fatal for three small children in the Rostov Region; residents of Shakhty evaluate their Mayor differently; Georgian-Russian relations are fuelled up by another "spy scandal", - look these and other events in the review of the week of January 10-16, 2011, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Another terror act in the Caucasus

In the evening on January 14, as a result of an explosion near the café "Belye Nochi" (White Nights) in the city of Khasavyurt in Dagestan three persons were lost; later one of those wounded died in hospital. Thus, the death toll made four persons; as of January 16, nine more survivors, five of them in grave condition, are still in hospitals. According to preliminary data, two café workers and two visitors perished.

According to the Investigatory Committee of the Russian Federation, at about 7:30 p.m. Moscow time on January 14 in Khasavyurt near the café named "Belye Nochi" and located in Bam Highway unidentified persons blew up a VAZ-2107 car.

Investigatory bodies regarded the explosion as a terror act. A criminal case on the fact of the explosion near the café in Khasavyurt was initiated under the article of "terror act".

Azov Sea: children on ice

Last weekend, many people in Russia were looking with hope after the fate of three kids, who disappeared in the Rostov Region. On Saturday, January 15, at about 2:00 p.m., two five-year-old boys and a girl of three went out for a walk and never returned. Around 7 p.m. their parents informed the militia about the disappearance.

Seven rescue units, militiamen and aviation were sent for the search; they were helped by local residents. On January 16, in the Taganrog Bay, Neklinovskiy District, divers found bodies of the three drowned children. According to rescuers, the children died after falling under the ice.

On that very day rescuers managed to save four teenagers from a drifting ice floe in the Taganrog Bay of the Azov Sea. At about 2:20 p.m. Moscow time the on duty officer of the Ministry for Emergencies (MfE) received information that in the Seaside Park in the city of Taganrog teenagers who occurred on a detached block of ice were calling for help.

Four boys aged 10-14 were taken off the ice by promptly arriving rescuers by means of special equipment. None of the kids was hurt.

Shakhty: pro and contra the Mayor

Last week the public attention was attracted to another dwelling settlement in the Rostov Region - the city of Shakhty, where signatures are collected starting December 25 under the appeal to the Russian President and the Governor of the Region, demanding to dismiss the city Mayor Sergey Ponamarenko. The appeal to Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and Governor of Rostov Region Vasily Golubev states mass violations by the Mayoralty in the housing and communal sphere, as well as social tension and widespread criminality in the city.

At the same time, on January 14, the official website of the administration of Shakhty posted another open letter to Governor Vasily Golubev in defence of Mayor Sergey Ponamarenko. Representatives of public associations stated that the Mayor had done a lot to improve the life of the city. The authors of the letter are members of public associations, political parties, Board of Veterans, ethnic Diasporas and Cossacks. The letter notes that Ponamarenko has managed, during the years of his occupancy of the post, to achieve good results. However, it lacks specific information on how and where the life of citizens became better.

At the request of the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent, Governor of the Rostov Region Vasily Golubev made his comments on the situation in the city of Shakhty, where, as he said, after the meeting of citizens 177 persons put their names on the list of Governor's personal reception - nearly twice as many as in other municipalities. The Governor expressed his opinion that today Shakhty suffers from a critical situation with life-supporting systems, which requires constant monitoring by regional authorities.

Russia-Georgia: another spy

It became known last week that an officer of one of military units of the Southern Military District of Russia was detained on suspicion of spying for Georgia. As reported by the Russian FSB, "the FSB bodies detained Senior Lieutenant David Aliev, a Russian citizen and a serviceman of one of the military units of the Southern Military District, on suspicion of treason in the form of espionage, namely, collection, under instructions of Georgian intelligence services, of secret information about the troops of the District."

The officer's mother - Irina Alieva - was also detained. According to Russian secret services, she planned to take the information gathered by her son out to Georgia. Both have already been charged of treason. So far, the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs made no comments.

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