04 June 2012, 12:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of May 28-June 3

Start of school exit Uniform State Exam (USE) and violations already fixed in the Astrakhan Region; sentences to natives of Northern Caucasus for committed and failed terror acts; election of Speaker of Armenian Parliament and start of forming the country's new government; sentence to figurant in the case on massacre in the village of Kuschevskaya that caused differing estimates; different viewpoints on the new law on governors in Chechnya and Dagestan, – look these and other events in the Caucasus in the review of the week of May 28-June 3, 2012, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Taking USE in South Russia goes not without violations

On May 28, Russia, including its south, launched the school exit Uniform State Exam (USE). On that day, schoolchildren took their exams in three subjects – informatics (computer science), biology and history.

This year, Chechnya has equipped special centres for taking the USE, provides with CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) systems and microphones, which, according to the local Ministry of Education and Sciences, excludes any chances to break the rules of the examination. The entrances to the rooms are equipped with metal detectors. In North Ossetia, the public control of the first day of the USE was executed by about 400 observers.

Still, there were incidents. In the Astrakhan Region, violations were revealed at taking the USE in biology: the work of one of the pupils had signs of forgery. The members of the commission suggested that the forged work was brought in by a stranger, since the schoolboy did not go out at the time of the exam. Two officials are suspected of misconduct.

The basic period of the USE will last until June 16, when the exams in geography and literature will take place. Then – a few reserve days for taking the USE in certain subjects; and from July 7 – the additional period for taking the USE will start.

Courts in Moscow and Vladikavkaz pass sentences to figurants of committed and failed terror acts

On May 29, the Moscow City Court sentenced Timur Akubekov, a native of Dagestan, to ten years of high security colony, finding him guilty of preparing a terror act in Red Square in Moscow on the 2010 New Year night. The case was tried in a special order, that is, without examining evidences and questioning witnesses, because Akubekov had concluded a cooperation agreement and gave incriminating testimonies against his accomplices. On May 18, Zeinab Suyunova, who figures in the same case, was sentenced to ten years of imprisonment.

On May 30, the court of Vladikavkaz passed a verdict to the defendant accused of organizing a terror act in the central marketplace of the city on September 9, 2010, which killed 19 and wounded 233 people. Alikhan Ortskhanov was sentenced to 14 years of imprisonment in a high security colony. According to investigators, Ortskhanov was a member of the grouping "Vilayat Galgaiche", involved in the above terror act and other grave and especially grave crimes committed in the territory of Ingushetia and North Ossetia.

Armenia: parliament elects its speaker; Premier forms government

On May 31, the first session of the National Assembly of Armenia, elected on May 6 was held, where the MPs elected the speaker – Ovik Abramyan – from the ruling Republican Party, who held the post in the previous parliament. He was the only nominee to the post, since the parliamentary faction of the ARFD (Armenian Revolutionary Federation "Dashnaktsutyun") boycotted the voting; and the first session of the parliament was also ignored by the MPs from the opposition bloc – the Armenian National Congress and the oppositional party "Heritage".

On the same day, the government of Armenia resigned; and on June 2, President Serzh Sargsyan signed a decree appointing Tigran Sarkisyan to be the Prime Minister. Mr Sarkisyan's nomination was unanimously supported the ruling Republican Party of Armenia. The new government should be formed within 20 days after appointment of the Premier.

Verdict on massacre in Kuschevskaya angers Governor of Krasnodar Territory

On May 31, the Kuschevskaya District Court of the Krasnodar Territory sentenced Sergey Tsepovyaz accused of covering up the killing of 12 people in the village of Kuschevskaya in November 2010. The court considered the case in the special order, that is, without a trial, because the defendant had fully admitted his guilt. During the debates, the state prosecutor asked the court to fine Tsepovyaz by 200,000 roubles; however, the court appointed the fine of 150,000 roubles.

The Governor of the Krasnodar Territory Alexander Tkachov has treated the verdict as "unacceptable lenient" and expressed his hope that it would be challenged by the prosecutor's office at the higher court. However, the prosecution has already stated that they found the verdict legitimate and reasonable, and they would not appeal against it.

Chechnya and Dagestan have different attitudes to the idea to restrict regional leadership by one person to two terms

On June 1, Russia has enforced the federal law on electing governors, which assumed no more than two terms in a row for one person as the head of the region, and direct elections of them. On the basis of this law, the so-called "model bill" was drafted and sent to the regions, so that local legislators could have some template when making the appropriate changes in their legislation.

On May 31, the Deputies of the National Assembly voted for the amendment to the republic's legislation, according to which already in 2015 Dagestan will hold, for the first time in its history, direct nationwide election of the head of the republic. The head of Dagestan, as suggested by the updated law, will be elected for a term of five years and will not be able to occupy the post for more than two consecutive terms.

It is noteworthy in this regard that Dukvakha Abdurakhmanov, the head of the Chechen parliament, expressed his belief in a special statement that the term of office of the head of the region should not be restricted by two terms; and in the context of the new bill he addressed the Chairman of the State Duma Sergey Naryshkin and the Speaker of the Council of the Federation Valentina Matvienko asking to revise these norms. Ms Matvienko has already agreed that Chechnya might amend the model bill to fit its political requests and needs.

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