30 April 2012, 23:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of April 23-29

Alexander Tkachov inaugurated as Governor of the Krasnodar Territory; election of the Mayor of Volgograd; sentences to persons accused of committing Vladikavkaz terror act and killing of eight people in Stavropol; fine imposed on editor-in-chief of Dagestani weekly "Nastoyascheye Vremya" for the article about the head of the republic; failed incident-prevention meeting in Abkhazian-Georgian conflict zone; struggle for power in administration of Elista; end of Astrakhan political hunger strike, - look these and other events in the Caucasus in the review of the week of April 23-29, 2012, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Krasnodar Territory: Tkachov inaugurated as Governor for the fourth time

On April 25, the city of Krasnodar hosted a solemn ceremony of inauguration of Alexander Tkachov as Governor of the Krasnodar Territory.

In his keynote speech he stated the need to form the territorial government, reduce the number of bureaucrats and administrative structures, increase the deputy corps, and to found a public movement to protect the interests of the Territory.

Volgograd Region: Deputies of Volgograd City Duma elect city Mayor

On April 27, at a sitting of the Volgograd City Duma, the Deputy from the "Edinaya Rossiya" (United Russia) Party Valery Vasilkov was elected to the post of the head (Mayor) of the city. It took the Deputies a whole day to collect the needed quorum to consider the issue. The city remained without Mayor since last February, when the former Mayor of Volgograd Roman Grebennikov was removed from office by the Governor of the Region Anatoly Brovko with the formulation "because of repeated non-fulfilment of judicial decisions."

The amendments saying that the Mayor is elected from among the Deputies and then heads the City Duma were made by the Deputies in the City Charter in April 2011. However, several attempts to elect the Mayor had failed. It is noteworthy that on March 26 the participants of the city public hearings unanimously approved the return of the provision of the direct election of the Mayor of Volgograd into the City Charter.

North Ossetia: court convicts two figurants in the marketplace explosion case

Last week, the Supreme Court of North Ossetia has considered the cases of two suspects of committing the terror act on September 9, 2010, at the entrance to the central marketplace of Vladikavkaz, which killed 19 people, including the alleged suicide bomber.

On April 27, the court sentenced Magomed Latyrov, a resident of Ingushetia, for a combination of his crimes, to 19 years of imprisonment with serving of first five years in prison, and the rest of the term - at a high security penal colony. The victims of the terror act, who attended the sentencing, said they did not agree with the verdict and would appeal against it. On April 26, the court sentenced Islam Khashagulgov for his involvement in the terror act to 24 years of high security penal colony.

Stavropol Territory: suspect of killing eight people in Stavropol sentenced to life imprisonment

On April 26, Roman Gubarev, also known in criminal circles under the nickname of "Khan", accused of murdering eight people in Stavropol last winter in the house of Vladimir Slizaev, was sentenced to life imprisonment, as the prosecution had demanded.

Vladimir Naiko, the convict's advocate, said that Gubarev in the courtroom refused from his last plea, claiming that "it was senseless," because "all his statements made at the trial had been rejected and never considered." Earlier, he refused to plead guilty. According to the advocate, the case "is extraordinary"; the verdict was based on indirect proofs; therefore, it would be challenged at higher instances.

Dagestan: editor-in-chief of "Nastoyascheye Vremya" fined for publishing article about republic's leader

On April 26, the Kirov Court of Makhachkala found Milrad Fatullaev, editor-in-chief of the newspaper "Nastoyascheye Vremya" (Present Time), guilty of failing to prevent defamation of the president of Dagestan Magomedsalam Magomedov and fined him by 10,000 roubles. The court dismissed Fatullaev's petition to transfer the case to Moscow, where he now lives, did not let reporters to the courtroom and prohibited any audio and video recording. The convict plans to challenge the verdict at a higher court.

The reason for the proceedings was the article by Nadira Isaeva "Caucasus in the Lead", published in the newspaper on February 3. It said that the Dagestani leader received a flash memory device (a "stick") from the so-called "forest" militants (they use these gadgets to extort money "on Jihad") and in retaliation introduced the CTO (counterterrorist operation) regime in the village of Gimry, Untsukul District. The administration of the district found this information as slanderous.

Georgia: MFA accuses Russia of disrupting incident-prevention meeting with Abkhazian party

On April 24, the five-sided meeting scheduled in Gali under the mechanism for the prevention of and reaction to incidents (MPRI) in the Abkhaz conflict zone did not take place. The Abkhaz Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) issued a statement saying that General Andrzej Tyszkiewicz, the head of the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) in Georgia, was ignoring "requests and appeals by putting an illegitimate demand to let the EUMM into the territory of Abkhazia." Accordingly, the Sukhumi MFA announced Tyszkiewicz to be an undesirable person in the territory of Abkhazia; and he was not admitted to the venue of the meeting.

According to Shota Utiashvili, Head of the Information and Analytical Department of Georgia's MFA, who is representing Georgia at five-sided meetings, the arguments, presented in the statement of the Abkhaz party, are far-fetched, since most of the issues in question had been discussed during previous meetings. In his opinion, Russia had to do with the disruption of the meeting.

Kalmykia: Elista City Council under dual power

The past week saw an intensified struggle for the post of City Manager of Elista, the capital of Kalmykia. On April 23, the session of the Elista City Council (ECC) convoked by its Speaker Erdni Shogdjiev failed for the fourth time for lack of quorum; the session was to elect the City Manager (Mayor). The same happened on April 26.

However, on April 24, supporters of Arthur Dordjiev, ousted from participation in the contest for the post of the City Manager (on April 20, he was appointed as acting City Manager by 15 Deputies of the ECC, who boycotted the officially appointed sessions), blocked the Elista Mayoralty and tried to take it by storm. The police detained several most active assaulters; and the building of the Mayoralty was cordoned off by policemen. On April, 27 Dordjiev announced that he had assumed the duties of the City Manager of Elista. Speaker Shogdjiev called the actions of Dordjiev's supporters "a raiders' capture", saying that Dordjiev captured the office of City Manager by breaking the locks.

Local observers believe that the ECC split and struggle for the post of City Manager of Elista stem from disagreements between the former and the new leaders of Kalmykia - Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and Alexei Orlov, accordingly.

Astrakhan: hunger strike in protest against election outcomes of Astrakhan Mayor stopped

On April 24, the hunger strike of the supporters of Oleg Shein, an ex-candidate for the Mayor of Astrakhan and the regional leader of the "Spravedlivaya Rossiya" (SR) (Fair Russia) Party, was stopped. The action was held in the city from March 15 in protest against the results of the municipal elections held on March 4. The hunger strike was stopped, as all the persons, detained at the actions in support of the hunger-strikers, were released.

On April 26, the Kirov District Court of Astrakhan began considering the lawsuit lodged by Oleg Shein on cancellation of the results of the election of the city Mayor.

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