02 February 2011, 23:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of January 24-30

Last week passed as the aftermath of the terror act committed on Monday at the Moscow "Domodedovo" Airport and continued through other armed incidents in North-Caucasian republics; inquiry into the massacre in the Stavropol Territory continues, but no particular results are reported; in Georgia, forcibly evicted refugees seek justice at the European Court and political asylum in the West, - look these and other events in the review of the week of January 24-30, 2011, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

TERROR ACT IN "DOMODEDOVO"

On January 24, at 4:32 Moscow time, the arrival lounge of international airlines of the Moscow "Domodedovo" Airport was shocked by a powerful explosion. As established by investigators, it was triggered by a suicide bomber. The blast killed 35 persons; currently, 125 persons - citizens of Russia and 14 other countries - are still in hospital.

Power agents: the case is solved

On January 26, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin stated that most probably the terrorist attack at the "Domodedovo" Airport has nothing to do with Chechnya; while President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev expressed the opinion that terrorists had hoped, in particular, to disrupt his trip to the Economic Forum in Davos.

Inspectors studied several versions of the terror act; under one of them, the attack could be committed by activists of the so-called "Nogai Jama'at", where the currently searched Vitaly Razdobudsko was a supposed member. Initially, he was called the possible executor of the terror act in "Domodedovo". However, a record of one of the surveillance cameras installed in the arrival lounge showed that it was another person.

According to another version, members of the armed underground of Dagestan were the organizers of the terror act, who were also involved in the two explosions in Moscow metro last March. Then, Dokku Umarov, leader of "Imarat Kavkaz", took responsibility for those explosions.

The "Rossiyskaya Gazeta" wrote that the explosive device that was used in the bombing at "Domodedovo" Airport was stuffed not only with metal striking elements but also with fine pebble and granite chips. Earlier, such "stone" bombs were widely used by Palestinian suicide bombers, the newspaper noted. Later, a source from the operative-investigatory group said that the inquiry had no data about any involvement of Palestinian militants in the terror act at the airport.

On January 29, the Investigatory Committee of the Russian Federation announced solution of this crime. The suicide bomber who blew himself up in "Domodedovo" was identified - according to the investigation, he was a 20-year-old native of Northern Caucasus, whose name has not yet disclosed.

Also on January 29 it became known that FSB agents detained a group of persons in Dagestan, involved in the explosion in the shooting club in Moscow on December 31, 2010. Then, a young woman perished from the explosion of a supposed self-made explosive device, intended to commit a terror act. On January 5, 2011, in Volgograd, on suspicion of involvement in this explosion, a woman, a native of Chechnya, was detained.

Authorities promise compensations

The total amount of financial assistance to victims and casualties' families of the terror act at "Domodedovo" Airport will make 250 million roubles. Under the order of the Prime Minister, every casualty's family will receive a total of three million roubles from the federal and regional budgets; while those who received serious bodily injuries will get 1.9 million roubles each, and victims with minor injuries - one million roubles each.

Earlier, Boris Gromov, Governor of Moscow Region, also noted that "in addition to federal payments, casualties' families will receive two million roubles each; those with grave injuries - 1.5 million roubles, and those with medium and light injuries - one million roubles each."

On January 27, the Department of Social Welfare of Population of Moscow began paying financial help to victims and families of casualties of the terror act at "Domodedovo" Airport on January 24. According to an employee of the Department, on that day (January 27) the first person addressed the office for financial assistance.

Russia commemorates casualties

January 27 was declared a mourning day for the victims of the terror act. On January 27-28, the casualties were buried in Moscow, Moscow Region and other subjects of the Federation.

On January 27, Russians lit candles and held a minute of silence in memory of the casualties of the January 24 terror act in "Domodedovo" Airport. The mourning actions were organized in many areas of Russia by youth political and public organizations, as well as by users of social networks.

Thus, several thousands of Muscovites came on January 27 to Pushkin Square in Moscow to commemorate the casualties of the terror act committed in "Domodedovo" Airport. Exactly at 4:32 p.m. Moscow time (the moment when the suicide bomber triggered his explosive device) with the bell strikes the audience commemorated the innocent casualties with a minute of silence. Many came to the square with flowers, candles and icons. Similar events on that day also took place in Lipetsk, Blagoveshchensk, Saratov and Novosibirsk.

On January 27, the casualties of the explosion at the Moscow "Domodedovo" Airport were commemorated not only in Russian cities, but also abroad. In particular, as a sign of condolence, dozens of residents of Chisinau brought fresh flowers and wreaths to the Russian Embassy in Moldova.

A day earlier, in the evening on January 26, the memory of those who perished in the terror act was honoured by residents of North-Ossetian Beslan. And in Tyumen the action in memory of those lost in the "Domodedovo" terror act was held on Saturday, January 29.

NORTHERN CAUCASUS REMAINS RESTLESS

Since the terror act in Moscow, committed by a suicide bomber, who, according to the latest data, was a 20-year-old native of Northern Caucasus, the situation in this region as such remains strained. During the six days that elapsed after the terror act, six armed incidents were registered in the territory of the republics of Northern Caucasus. The terror act prevented in the Dagestani city of Izberbash could become the seventh in the row.

On January 30, two land mines were found in the residential area of Izberbash. The sappers of the FSB deployed in Dagestan managed to defuse the mines, which had the power of about 10 and 15 kilos of trotyl- or TNT-equivalent. Both bombs were stuffed with striking elements in the form of reinforcement bar fragments. Law enforcement officials stated prevention of a huge terror act.

On that very day, two explosions occurred in Dagestan - in the Levashin District, a mobile telephony and a power transformer stations were blown up. Earlier, on January 27, the CTO (counterterrorist operation) regime was introduced in the township Severny in the outskirts of Khasavyurt; power agents stormed a private house, where, according to their data, militants were hiding. According to power agents, the blocked rebels refused to surrender. At 3:30 p.m. a skirmish burst out; a supposed militant and his wife were liquidated.

A day earlier, on January 26, also in Khasavyurt, a terror act was committed near the café named "Caravan". Three persons died on the spot; seven more were wounded; later one of them died in hospital.

Other regions of the NCFD (North-Caucasian Federal District) were also far from calmness. In particular, in Kabardino-Balkaria, on January 28, Mikhail Mambetov, head of the administration of the Chegem District was shot dead; and in the south of Chechnya on January 25 an explosion of a land mine killed a local resident.

MASSACRE IN STAVROPOL: INVESTIGATION

Let us remind you that on January 21 the bodies of eight persons - five men and three women - were found with gunshot wounds in the garage of one of private houses in Stavropol. Vladimir Slizaev, the owner of the house, and his family members were assassinated. The only survivals were a boy of eight and a newborn girl.

Later it became known that Roman Gubarev, Slizaev's driver, was suspected of committing the massacre. On January 28, the Lenin District Court put Gubarev in custody.

According to investigators, after killing Slizaev, Gubarev and his accomplice stole money and jewellery. Mr Markin, spokesman of the Russian Investigatory Committee, has noted that Gubarev's evidences had been confirmed by investigatory actions."

Meanwhile, Roman's wife Irina Gubareva stated earlier that on the day of the massacre her husband was with her at her parents'. The name of the alleged accomplice is known but not disclosed so far in the interests of the investigation.

Earlier, investigators had noted that the motive of robbery was the fundamental distinction of the Stavropol massacre from the mass murder of 12 persons in the village of Kuschevskaya, Krasnodar Territory.

GEORGIA AGAINST REFUGEES

As earlier reported by the "Caucasian Knot", on January 20, the police began evicting refugees from the places of their compact residence - the former building of the Customs Department in Orkhevi and three blocks of so-called "Bagebi Campus". During the eviction, clashes burst out between participants of protest actions with the police. Several persons were detained. On the same day, a refugees' protest action was held in Tbilisi, the Georgian capital.

On January 26 in Tbilisi, in front of the Ministry for Refugees' Matters, internally displaced persons held another action demanding to suspend the eviction. The next large-scale action of refugees is planned for February 7. They want to voice protest against the government's policy, in particular, against their mass eviction from Tbilisi into regions. The organizers assert that the refugees already resettled to the regions will possibly join the action.

About 300 refugees living in Tbilisi applied for political asylum in Germany and France. About the same number plan to apply for the same purpose to the US Embassy. According to David Malazoniya, head of the "Civil Movement of Refugees", the refugees have already notified the ambassadors accredited in Georgia about the process of their eviction.

Activists of the "Civil Movement of Refugees" plan to visit - starting from January 31 - the regions, where refugees were evicted and examine the situation there. And on February 2 another rally will be held in front of the Parliament.

Refugees also intend to seek assistance at the embassies of other foreign countries and to file suits to the Strasbourg Court (European Court of Human Rights, ECtHR). Lawyers Liya Mukhashavriya and Nino Tsikhiseli are already drafting the complaints. One of the main reasons why refugees refuse to move to the regions is in absence of job opportunities there.

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