19 September 2011, 23:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of September 12-18


Strikes of metallurgists in Georgia and dispersal by the police of a protest action against violations of their rights; decision of the Russian Supreme Court to uphold the verdict to the persons accused of killing lawyer Markelov in Moscow; Jubilee Investment Forum in Sochi, which brought together more than 6500 participants; celebration of Unity Day of the Republic Dagestan and new resonant crimes, - look these and other events in the Caucasus in the review of the week of September 12-18, 2011, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Georgia: workers-metallurgists stand for their labour rights; authorities support factory owners

Back in August this year, the workers of the Georgian-Indian joint venture "Hercules" in the city of Kutaisi proclaimed their readiness to go on strike, if the factory bosses had failed to improve their working conditions, start collective bargaining, and increase wages. The warning strike at the "Hercules" was held on September 2, following dismissal of six workers, and, according to activists, brought no results. After the strike, the bosses of the "Hercules" sacked five members of the trade union.

In the morning on September 13, the workers went on a termless strike. By September 15, the number of strikers at the "Hercules" factory reached 350 persons. Two hunger-strikers joined the earlier five ones. Only Indian workers remained in their workplaces (according to various sources, there were 120-150 of them), who worked for 12 hours a day. Out of the eight factory smelters, only one was operational.

At night on September 16, the police dispersed a protest action and detained over 30 persons without presenting charges. According to trade unions, the protesters were detained, but released several hours later. According to unionists, they were forced to sign applications about their return to work and refusal from their demands.

After that, the factory managers fired three workers-activists of the strike. The administration of the Imereti Region supported the owners of the "Hercules". Irakli Djikiya, Vice-Mayor of Kutaisi, said the workers had violated labour discipline; and the state would continue to "maximally protect the interests of any investor, because the main task of the state today is to create new jobs and support employment of the population."

Moscow: Supreme Court of Russia confirms the guilt of Tikhonov and Khasis of killing lawyer Markelov

On September 14, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation considered the cassation complaint lodged by Nikita Tikhonov Eugenia Khasis, who had been found guilty by the jury of murdering the lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova.

According to the investigation, Tikhonov and Khasis killed lawyer Markelov because he had represented at trials the interests of anti-fascists and people who suffered from nationalists. The defence claims that Markelov could become, while representing the interests of victims at some resonant litigations on the crimes committed in Chechnya, in particular, in the case of Colonel Budanov, a victim of the vengeance by the accused.

At the Supreme Court, the defendants' advocates stated that the trial had violated the adversarial principle; that the jurymen had earlier reported about the pressure exerted on them; and that the jury foreman had broken the article of the Russian Code of Criminal Procedure, which prohibits any collection of information on the case outside the judicial sessions.

The collegium of judges of the Supreme Court spent over an hour in the consultation room; then, they announced their decision to uphold the verdict passed to the defendants and to dismiss the complaints lodged by defendants' advocates. In their turn, the advocates announced their intention to appeal against this decision to the Presidium of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation and to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).

Jubilee Investment Forum in Sochi: Russian regions find funding for their projects

On September 15-18, the Krasnodar Territory hosted the Tenth International Investment Forum "Sochi-2011", which was attended by representatives from almost 60 regions of Russia, including all the regions of Southern Russia, and from over 35 foreign countries - over 6500 participants in total. This year, the exhibition pavilions had the total area of nearly 15,000 square meters. The guests of the forum were accommodated by about 100 Sochi hotels. About 600 students-volunteers helped the organizing committee. It was reported that in total during the forum the participants would present about 3000 investment proposals.

Some results of the forum are already known; in particular, that the Rostov Region has signed contracts worth over 21 billion roubles; the Stavropol Territory has concluded an agreement to create a nano-centre and a wool-processing factory; Karachay-Cherkessia will create, under an agreement with the company "Severny Most" (Northern Bridge), a multi-modal transportation centre; and the "Vnesheconombank" and the Limited Liability Company (LLC) "Arkhyz-1650" signed a loan agreement to the sum of 1.2 billion US dollars. According to preliminary data, the delegation of the Krasnodar Territory has concluded 289 agreements worth 426 billion roubles, and the Volgograd Region - contracts worth over 200 billion roubles. Besides, one of the highlights of the forum was the agreement on the "Youzhny Potok" (Southern Stream).

Dagestan: Day of Unity and region's leadership by count of victims

On September 15, for the first time Dagestan marked the Day of Unity of the nations living in the republic. The desire to establish a new republic's holiday with the aim to unite all the nations living in Dagestan was expressed during the Third Congress of the Nations of Dagestan, which took place last December.

Within the holiday, on September 14, the village of Kumukhe in the Lak District saw an opening ceremony of the monument in honour of the victory in 1741 of the united forces of mountaineers over the hordes of Persian invader Nadir Shah. It was noted at the ceremony that in the future monuments would be built in honour of the national heroes who fought against invaders and whose exaltation will contribute to strengthening the unity of the nations of Dagestan.

However, the republic is still far from peace: Dagestan continues to hold the absolute leadership among the regions of Northern Caucasus by the number of casualties and victims. According to calculations of the "Caucasian Knot", based on the own materials of the edition and other open sources, as of September 14 from the beginning of 2011, 315 persons were killed and 224 more wounded in the republic.

The most resonant incidents, which happened already after September 14, include the murder of Zainudin Daiziev, Imam of the village of Kadar, Buinaksk District, who spoke out against Wahhabism; the murder was committed in the village of Chankurbe; the beating in Makhachkala of Omar Magomedov, a journalist of the North-Caucasian Bureau of the NTV Channel, after he had made a remark to young people who crossed the road against the red light in front of his car.


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