22 August 2011, 09:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of August 15-21

Earthquakes keep Eastern Georgia in tension for several days; pre-election campaign in Abkhazia interrupted by road accident; world champion in combat sambo from Dagestan kills a 19-year old student with one punch; houses located in Olympic route demolished in Sochi, – look these and other events in the Caucasus in the review of the week of August 15-21, 2011, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Fatal knockout

One of the main last week's topics at last week was the fate of Rasul Mirzaev, world champion in combat sambo, a native of Dagestan, who killed a 19-year-old student in a quarrel with one punch.

The conflict between the world champion Rasul Mirzaev, 25, and a student Ivan Agafonov, 19, burst out on August 13 in central Moscow near the night club "Garage". In the course of the quarrel Mirzaev punched Agafonov; after which the young man was hospitalized, and at night on August 18 he died in hospital without regaining consciousness.

On August 19 Mirzaev was detained on suspicion of committing the above crime; in the course of inquiry he admitted the fact of causing bodily injuries to the victim.

At the court hearing on August 20 Mirzaev apologized in the courtroom before the casualty's relatives, saying that he had no intention to cause harm. He added that the most hurtful fact in the story was that Agafonov died. The athlete also said that their quarrel caused by Agafonov insulting Mirzaev's girlfriend. The casualty's mother asserts that her son had not insulted anyone.

Houses of Sochi residents are stormed

Last week the pre-Olympic Sochi saw a serious battle for the houses, located in the way of the would-be Olympic motor road.

House No. 25 in Vesyolaya Street in the Adler District of Sochi was one of such houses, and, according to its residents – the Tkachenko family – was illegally taken away from them without any compensation.

The Sochi authorities believe that the administration of the Adler District had exceeded its powers in 1996 by issuing to Vladimir Tkachenko a "Land Plot Statement", where the house was built. The court ruled to demolish the construction.

On August 18, court marshals and OMON (riot police) fighters tried to enter the house in order to enforce the ruling. The residents – the family with minor children – refused to quit the house, saying that the court ruling on its demolition was illegal. The house was stormed. According to eyewitnesses, the head of the family and the men who tried to protect the house were beaten.

Vladimir Tkachenko, the head of the family, received lacerated wounds of his head and bruises on the body from truncheon blows and use of electric shockers. An ambulance took him to the trauma centre, where he received medical aid, the eyewitnesses said.

On August 20 at night workers managed to demolish Tkachenko's house. The family could not even take out all their belongings.

"Pre-election" road accident in Abkhazia

On August 20, in Abkhazia, where the campaign for presidential election is in full swing now, near the village of Bzyp, Gagra District, a road accident occurred involving one of the presidential candidates Sergey Shamba. His motorcade was moving at 70 km/h in the direction of the city of Pitsunda, where his meeting with voters was to take place.

As far as Mr Shamba's election staff is aware, the accident was caused by the oncoming traffic, resulting in a collision, after which the car with Sergey Shamba was pushed into the road ditch. The injured candidate was taken to the Gagra Central District Hospital; according to doctors, his condition does not cause any concern.

On the same day the Abkhazian television was to hold debates with participation of all the three presidential candidates – Alexander Ankvab, Raul Khadjimba and Sergey Shamba. However, because of the accident with Shamba his opponents also decided in solidarity not to take part in the debates.

In their turn, the election staff of the presidential candidate Sergey Shamba, has addressed the general Prosecutor's Office and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Abkhazia with a demand to conduct a full-fledged investigation into the road accident.

Earthquakes in Georgia

In the end of last week Eastern Georgia suffered from several notable earthquakes. The first one with magnitude of 5.5 points occurred in the city of Racha on August 18, after which for three days already systematic subsurface shocks are observed there.

On the same day residents of South-Caucasian region experienced a number of small aftershocks, including in the territory of Tskhinvali.

On August 20, in the vicinity of Racha another earthquake was felt with the magnitude of 3.2 points. Aftershocks were felt throughout the region. The epicentre of the quake was some 2-3 kilometres to north-east of the village of Tkhmori.

On the following morning, on August 21, Racha fixed still another quake: aftershocks with the magnitude of 3.7 points were registered at 6:37 a.m. local time (5:37 a.m. Moscow time). According to the seismological monitoring centre, the epicentre was in the Ambrolauri District, in the village of Zemo Krikhi. No victims or damage were reported.

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