13 February 2012, 23:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of February 6-12

Anomalous frosts in Southern Russia and countries of Southern Caucasus result in numerous emergencies and accidents; failed inauguration of Alla Djioeva in South Ossetia; start of trial on massacre in Stavropol; end of nomination of candidates for MPs of Abkhazia, Supreme Court of Kabardino-Balkaria supports striking drivers of the; bill on wage regulation brought in the parliament of the Volgograd Region, - look these and other events in the Caucasus in the review of the week of February 6-12, 2012, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Anomalous frosts in Southern Russia and countries of Southern Caucasus cause emergencies and accidents

The past week was marked by severe frosts in Southern Russia and countries of Southern Caucasus, which were treated by weather forecasters as record low and resulted in various emergencies. Almost all southern regions of Russia were forced to close schools and open warm-up centres for homeless and other needy people.

Unfortunately, frostbite casualties were registered. At night on February 11, severe frosts in Georgia killed two homeless people; one more is in very grave condition. According to official data, during the last ten days three homeless men died from frostbite in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.

The frost and strong wind caused various municipal and road traffic accidents. From time to time during the week, residents of Chechnya, the city of Vladikavkaz and several dwelling settlements of the Astrakhan Region remained without electricity, heat and water supplies. Because of complicated ice conditions 96 ships got blocked in the waters of the Azov and Black Seas near the Russian border; 40 of them got stuck in ice of the Azov Sea. In Rostov-on-Don, severe frosts created threats of loss of unique plants in the city botanical gardens; while in the Caspian Sea, in the area adjacent to Dagestan, hundreds of birds, including those listed in the Red Book of Russia, in particular, pelicans, are endangered.

Strong snowstorms in the Volgograd Region several times interrupted the traffic along the almost 60-kilometre section of the highway Saratov-Volgograd. An especially complicated situation was observed there in early February. Thus, in the afternoon on February 2, three persons with symptoms of frostbite were hospitalized from the traffic jam formed because of bad weather. One of them fell into coma at hospital and died on February 5 without regaining consciousness.

The Krasnodar Territory was strongly affected by unpleasant surprises of the weather. On February 7, the hurricane wind at a speed of up to 47 meters per second attacked the region. In the city of Gelendzhik, it damaged roofs of 29 houses and 20 social buildings; in Novorossiysk over 260 houses were damaged; there were outages of power and heat supplies. The total damage from the hurricane, according to the territorial authorities, will amount to about 275 million roubles.

South Ossetia: failed inauguration of Alla Djioeva

On February 9, Alla Djioeva, an ex-presidential candidate of South Ossetia, who won the second round of election on November 27, 2011, did not recognize the court's decision that had invalidated the election outcomes and appointed her inauguration as the president of the republic on February 10, found herself at the intensive care unit.

This happened after she was visited by an investigator with her subpoena for questioning to the General Prosecutor's Office. According to supporters of Alla Djioeva, she lost consciousness after she was struck on her head with a submachine gun butt, when about 200 OMON (riot police) special fighters stormed her office. However, according to the official information, Djioeva felt bad during her conversation with the investigator, who told her about her upcoming questioning as a witness in the case of preparing a putsch. As a result, her inauguration did not take place.

Initially, doctors said that Alla Djioeva suffered a brain stroke; later she was diagnosed with "hypertensive crisis". Now, according to medics, her health condition has stabilized; however, neither her relatives nor her supporters are let in to see her.

Stavropol Territory: court starts considering massacre committed in Stavropol

On February 8, the Stavropol Territorial Court formed a jury to consider the case of Roman Gubarev accused of the murder of eight persons in Stavropol last winter committed in the house of Vladimir Slizaev, also known in criminal circles under the nickname of "Khan". The petition to have a trial by jury was moved by the defendant himself.

According to Roman Gubarev's advocate, his client, who worked as Slizaev's driver, did not commit what he is accused of, and, should the jury be objective, it can be proved. Investigators believe the murder was committed for mercenary motives. Gubarev's friends and relatives do not believe in his guilt.

Abkhazia: 156 candidates for 35 seats in parliament

On February 8, Abkhazia finished the nomination procedure of candidates for the seats at the National Assembly, whose election will take place on March 10. Now, 156 candidates run for 35 MP positions.

According to the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Abkhazia, apart from 129 initiative groups, which have nominated 129 persons, 35 more candidates were nominated by political parties: 11 - by the "United Abkhazia" and the oppositional "Forum of People's Unity" each; 7 - by the Communist Party; 6 - by the "Party for Economic Development of Abkhazia". Eight candidates were nominated by initiative groups and political parties at the same time time. The youngest candidate is 26 years old, the oldest is 73. Registration of candidates will take place on February 9-28.

Kabardino-Balkaria: Supreme Court takes the side of striking drivers

On February 9, the Supreme Court of Kabardino-Balkaria dismissed the claim lodged by the administration of the Municipal Unitary Enterprise (MUE) "Nalchikavtobustrans" on invalidating the strike, during which on January 10-24 its drivers refused to go to work. The strikers demanded payment of wage debts, normal working conditions and replacement of managers. On January 24 the Republic's Trade Union of Transport Workers reached an agreement to stop the strike; while bosses of the "Nalchikavtobustrans" went to court claiming to fine the strikers.

During the trial, drivers said that their action was not a strike. According to their story, they were forced to suspend work because of poor technical condition of buses and intolerable working conditions. The Court confirmed it and found that the employer had systematically violated the law by delaying payment of wages; and therefore the employees had the right, entitled to by law, to suspend the work by giving the employer a prior written notice.

Volgograd Region: bill on binding managers' salaries to average company wages brought to parliament

Local communists have brought a bill to the Volgograd Regional Duma obliging the regional employers to observe the established proportion between salaries of top managers and the average salary of the company employees; this ratio should not be more than eight.

Such regional law was in force since 1999 and was cancelled last spring under the protest of the public prosecutor as contradictory to the federal legislation. According to the authors of the new bill, the contradictions have been eliminated; and - should the bill is adopted - the employer will have incentive to increase salaries of his or her staff, because, by increasing his or her salary, he or she will have to index salaries of the staff either.

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