14 May 2012, 23:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of May 7-13

Preliminary results of parliamentary elections in Armenia, according to which 80 percent of seats go to pro-government candidates; earthquakes in Azerbaijan; oppositional rallies in Volgograd; protests against Gelman's exhibition and opposition's "folk festivities" in Krasnodar; fights and attacks with casualties in Dagestan, - look these and other events in the Caucasus in the review of the week of May 7-13, 2012, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Armenia: opposition treats parliamentary elections unfair, but agrees to work in it

On May 7, the preliminary results of parliamentary elections in Armenia, held on May 6, became known, according to which the Republican Party won 44.05% of the votes, the "Prosperous Armenia" - 30.20%, the Armenian National Congress (ANC) - 7.10%, the "Heritage" - 5.79%, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) "Dashnaktsutyun" - 5.73% and the "Country of Rule of Law" - 5.49%.

On May 8, the ANC leader Levon Ter-Petrosyan announced his intention to abandon his parliamentary mandate; on May 11, a similar statement was made by Aram Sargsyan, Chairman of the "Republic" Party. However, Grant Bagratyan, an activist of the ANC, has explained that the oppositionists, who claim the elections as unfair, in general, would not give up their parliamentary mandates.

Azerbaijan: earthquakes in Zagatala District injures people and damaged houses

During the week, Azerbaijan suffered from several earthquakes.

On May 7, in the area 17 km to the south of the city of Zagatala and about 400 km to the west of Baku, residents felt several earthquakes, including one of 5.5 points in power. As a result, 36 persons turned for medical help. About 1050 families whose houses were destroyed had to move into tents. According to the latest data, over 2000 buildings are in the emergency condition.

On May 10, the Zagatala District was struck by a 4-point earthquake. Two more earthquakes in the same district with the magnitude of 3 and 4 points occurred at night on May 13. No victims were reported.

Volgograd: opposition marks 100 days of Bozhenov as Governor with protest rally

On May 12, Volgograd hosted a rally "For Honest Authorities", organized by the regional office of the "Yabloko" Party. Apart of this party, the action was attended by activists of the CPRF and the public movement "For Fair Elections". The Governor Sergey Bozhenov, whose 100 days in power was marked on May 11, was also invited to the rally; however, he failed to appear.

About a hundred people came to the rally. Many stood with white ribbons and posters "We Didn't Elect Bozhenov!", "You Have Force - No Need of Mind!", "Power Belongs to People", "No to Paid Education and Medicine!", "Bureaucrats, Hands Off Budget!"

Krasnodar: "folk festivities" of oppositionists and protest against Gelman's exhibition

On May 13, in Krasnodar, civil society activists held an action in the form of a walk "White Red" with the aim to support the "Control Walk" and the camp of the opposition in Chistye Prudy in Moscow, as well as the movement for fair authorities throughout Russia. On May 10, the regional centre also held "folk festivities" of the opposition. One of the protesters became a figurant of a protocol on violation of city order.

On May 7, a sit-in strike "We did not elect him" was held by opposition activists near the monument to Cossacks, where the regional administration is located. Law enforcers drew up protocols on administrative offences against the participants.

On May 12, Krasnodar hosted a citizens' rally and reception of citizens by Deputies of the Regional Legislative Assembly in protest against the opening in the city of the exhibition ICONS organized by the well-known gallery-owner Marat Gelman scheduled for May 15. About 15 people took part in the citizens' rally - representatives of the Cossacks, Orthodox activists and the movement "Essence of Time".

Dagestan: at least 11 persons lost in special operations and shelling within a week

On May 12, an alleged member of the armed underground was killed in a shootout with law enforcers at the border of the Sergokalin and Kayakent Districts of Dagestan. He was identified as the leader of the "Sergokalin" grouping, a native and citizen of Turkey Sheikh Abdusalam. During a clash, a special agent has also perished.

On May 10, a fight of power agents with members of illegal armed formations (IAFs) burst out near the village of Tsvetkovka, Kizlyar District of Dagestan, where two policemen were killed and seven more wounded. On May 11, the law enforcement officers reported that three members of the "Kizlyar" armed grouping had been killed in the fight; one of them was later identified as Magomed Makhmudov, who functioned as a Sharia Judge. On May 12, bodies of four other suspected militants were found in the area of the special operation.

The counterterrorist operation (CTO) regime was introduced on May 10 also in the village of Balakhani, Untsukul District of Dagestan. According to local residents, power agents searched for militants who had shelled on the same day the post of law enforcers located near the road junction near the village of Maidanskoe. The automatic fire was opened from the forest at the moment of shift change at the post. No one was injured.

Unrests were registered in other areas of the republic. In the evening on May 9 in Izberbash an armed attack was launched on a police patrol unit. Two policemen were injured, one of them died in hospital on the following day. Also in the evening on May 9, in the Babayurt District, unidentified persons opened fire from a passing car at the policemen who worked in the place of a road accident; five policemen were injured.

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