02 April 2012, 12:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of March 26-April 1

Search of the flat of Geidar (Heydar) Jemal in Moscow; set up of commission for militants' adaptation and demand of resignation of Derev, Member of the Federation Council in Karachay-Cherkessia; approval of Konstantin Khramov, Mayor of Nevinnomyssk, as Prime Minister of the Volgograd Region; rally of oppositional Armenian National Congress in Yerevan; Azerbaijanis mark Genocide Day, – look these and other events in the Caucasus in the review of the week of March 26-April 1, 2012, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Moscow: power agents search Geidar Jemal's apartment

On March 27, investigators searched the Moscow apartment of Geidar Jemal, Chairman of the Islamic Committee of Russia and a member of the coordinating council of the "Left-Wing Front of Russia". On March 28, officials of the Russian Federal Security Bureau (FSB) explained that the search was conducted in connection with posting on the Internet of the article "Role of Women in the Jihad" (in which the author gave examples of participation of Muslim women in terror acts, including against Russian Armed Forces in Chechnya and encouraged readers to follow their example).

Mr Jemal himself said that a criminal case on incitement of enmity and hatred was opened against the website of the Islamic Committee of Russia, which had posted the above article on behalf of Yusuf Al-Iyeri; the search was conducted within this case. Some experts stated the political context of Geidar Jemal's persecution. Maxim Shevchenko, now the presenter of "Channel One" and the former head of the working group for promotion of social dialogue and civil society institutions in the Caucasus of the Russian Public Chamber, who during the search of the Jemal's apartment was a witness, has treated the case against Jemal as "persecution of Russian intellectuals." It is noteworthy that earlier Geidar Jemal had stated that the concept of extremism in Russia is used by the authorities to discredit their opponents.

Karachay-Cherkessia: establishment of commission for militants' adaptation and demand of resignation of Vyacheslav Derev

On March 28, the head of Karachay-Cherkessia Rashid Temrezov signed a decree on establishing a commission to assist those, who have decided to stop their terrorist and extremist activities in the territory, in adapting to peaceful life. Such commissions are already working in Ingushetia, Dagestan and Kabardino-Balkaria.

On March 28, representatives of the public of the Adyge-Khabl and Khabez Municipal Districts and the Board of Elders of the Circassian Nation demanded resignation of Vyacheslav Derev, Senator of the Federation Council, after his interview to the "Rossiyskaya Gazeta", where he named Raul Arashukov, the former head of the "Gazprom Mezhregiongaz Stavropol" a "gas oligarch" and said that in the Caucasus, his resignation from his post as head of the power holding company was perceived with jubilation.

The initiators of resignation said that otherwise they were going to hold a rally on March 30 in the central square of Cherkessk; however, the leaders of the Public Chamber and the Board of Elders of Karachay-Cherkessia, as well as a number of public organizations of the republic, spoke against the rally. Later, the organizers of the rally gave up their idea. It is noteworthy that in 2009 the National Assembly of Karachay-Cherkessia four times rejected the candidature of Vyacheslav Derev for the post of representative of the local parliament in the Federation Council of Russia. Derev became a Russian Senator in April 2011; he was delegated there by the head of Karachay-Cherkessia Rashid Temrezov.

Volgograd Region: Mayor of Nevinnomyssk Konstantin Khramov heads regional government

On March 29, the Deputies of the Volgograd Regional Duma approved Konstantin Khramov, Mayor of the city of Nevinnomyssk, Stavropol Territory, for the post of Prime Minister of the Volgograd Region. His candidacy was brought to the Regional Duma on March 21 by the Governor of the Volgograd Region Sergey Bozhenov.

The appointment of Khramov, who had earlier also worked as the Minister for Economic Development of the Stavropol Territory and was a Deputy of the Territorial Duma, as the head of the government of the Volgograd Region, was supported by 33 Deputies. The faction of the CPRF (Communist Party of the Russian Federation) in the Volgograd Regional Duma did not support the candidacy of Khramov.

Armenia: oppositionists inform rally about plans if they win parliamentary elections

On March 30, Yerevan hosted a rally of the oppositional Armenian National Congress (ANC), which brought together, according to the police, about 4800 people. The audience was presented with the candidates from the ANC, who run for the Parliament in the majority constituencies (the elections to the National Assembly of Armenia are scheduled for May 6); while the leader of the ANC Levon Ter-Petrosyan told about the plans of his movement in case it wins the elections.

Thus, according to his story, the ANC intends to demand resignation of President Serzh Sargsyan, make serious changes to the Electoral Code, revise the membership of the Constitutional Court of Armenia, claim compensations to all victims of the events of March 1, 2008, and raise the issue of a switchover to 100-percent proportional system of elections.

Azerbaijan marks Genocide Day

On March 31, residents of Azerbaijan commemorate the victims of events of 1918. According to the official Baku, then, armed forces of the Nationalist Party "Dashnaktsutyun", supported by the Bolshevik leadership of the Baku Council, committed mass killings and pogroms of peaceful population.

March 31 was announced as the Genocide Day of Azerbaijanis in 1998. On this day, officials, representatives of the Azerbaijani public and foreign diplomatic corps, thousands of people make a march in Baku along the Alley of Fallen Heroes in the mountainous part of the city. On the eve of the 94th anniversary of the March events of 1918, the governmental, educational and scientific institutions held activities in memory of the victims of ethnic clashes.

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