30 March 2011, 23:00
Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of March 21-27
Strong winds in Kuban (Krasnodar Territory) left hospitals, kindergartens and schools without roofs; in Ingushetia, opposition Khazbiev, sentenced to administrative arrest, was released after Evkurov's interference; in central Yerevan public set up a tent for Ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, who is on hunger strike for the second week, - look these and other events in the review of the week of March 21-27, 2011, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".
Kuban: weather introduces emergency regime
Last week, bad weather, typical for the South of Russia during off-season, forced residents of the Krasnodar Territory to worry and count the damage. On March 26 the region saw strong winds; its gusts reached 33 meters per second. About 30 settlements in 15 districts of the territory were partially de-energized, leaving some 70,000 residents without electricity in the daytime.
In the Timashevsk District, the wind damaged 220 square meters of slate roofing of kindergarten No. 7 and tore away 20 square meters of slate roofing of secondary school No. 1 in the city of Timashevsk. 265 square meters of roofing of school No. 9 in the village of Nezaimanovskiy was also damaged. Starting from 6:00 p.m. Moscow time, the Timashevsk district commission for emergencies introduced the regime of emergency situation in its district as the aftermath of strong winds.
On the same day, in the Krasnodar Territory, strong wind tore away the roof of the Children's Department of the Kanev Central District Hospital. Nobody was killed or hurt.
By the evening on March 26, the electricity supplies to the Krasnodar Territory, broken by strong winds, were partially restored; however, about 17,000 residents still remained without electricity. By 6:00 p.m. on March 27 electricians managed to fully restore electricity supplies in all dwelling localities of the Krasnodar Territory, broken by strong winds.
Ingushetia: Khazbiev arrested during a rally
The rally on March 23 in Nazran, after which Magomed Khazbiev was arrested, was not sanctioned; its participants demanded from the authorities to establish the fate of Ilez Gorchkhanov kidnapped on March 21. People held posters: "Bring Ilez back!" and expressed their confidence that his disappearance had to do with special agencies. The rally was dispersed by law enforcers; several participants were arrested, including the opposition leader Magomed Khazbiev, who was beaten by power agents along with his brothers Murad and Berd and taken to some unknown place. Later it became known that the Khazbievs were kept at the Nazran GOVD (City Interior Department).
On March 24, the magistrate court awarded Magomed and Berd Khazbiev with ten days of administrative arrest. The court relied on evidences of a policeman, who said that he had personally seen all the three Khazbiev brothers at the street action on March 23. It was reported that the two convicted brothers would serve their term at the isolation facility (IVS) of the Nazran GOVD; however, as reported by their sister Khadi, they were not brought to the IVS, but again taken to some unknown place.
On March 26, the civil activist Magomed Khazbiev, arrested after dispersal of the spontaneous protest action against violent disappearances in Nazran, was released from custody. Together with him, his brother Berd was also released from the Ingush GOVD.
Khazbiev was released after personal interference of the head of the republic Yunus-Bek Evkurov. Prior to his release, Mr Evkurov met with the brothers' parents and promised to facilitate the release of the detainees.
Armenia: oppositionists' hunger strike continues
Last week, Raffi Ovannisyan, leader of the "Heritage" Party and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, who has been holding - since March 15 - his hunger strike in Freedom Square in Yerevan, continued his action. Among his proclaimed slogans are the following: "Power belongs to people!", "People are masters of their country!", "Decent future for young people!", "No to injustice and migration!", "No to corruption!" "Recognize independence of Nagorno-Karabakh!"
The oppositionist has stated that he would continue his hunger strike until early elections are announced in the country.
On March 22, at the open-air press conference, the leader of the "Heritage" Party announced his firm intention to continue his protest action as long as his health permits. He also said that he was visited by doctors every day, who believed that at the moment he had no problems with his heart or blood tension.
On March 21 Raffi Ovannisyan was visited by Karen Andreasyan, local Ombudsman. He addressed the police for a permit to set up a tent; however, the police did not allow doing it. The Ombudsman treated the police's decision as a violation of human rights. In his turn, Arthur Osikyan, Deputy Head of the Police of Armenia, said he did not agree with this assessment, since the police actions were lawful and within the bounds of the law.
On March 25, under the initiative of public organizations, the tent for Ovannisyan was set up. The oppositionist himself said that he "did not need this tent." According to his story, this was a manifestation of "compassion and delicacy" towards him, even though "such attention should have been first of all demonstrated by the authorities."