11 June 2012, 23:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of June 4-10

Film Festival "Kinotavr" in Sochi; the visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Southern Caucasus and aggravation in Karabakh conflict zone; detention of high-ranking officials in Kabardino-Balkaria on suspicion of fraud; next round of Geneva Debates; mass fight of soccer fans with natives of Northern Caucasus in Moscow, - look these and other events in the Caucasus in the review of the week of June 4-10, 2012, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Krasnodar Territory: Sochi welcomes "Kinotavr" No. 23

On June 3, Sochi launched the 23rd Open Russian Film Festival "Kinotavr". The contest programme lists 14 films; one documentary among them - "I Don't Love You" by Pavel Kostomarov and Alexander Rastorguev. The movie by Pavel Ruminov "I'll Be Close to You" - a story about a woman diagnosed with brain cancer, who is looking for new parents for her six-year-old son - was announced the winner of the festival.

During the opening ceremony, President of the Festival Alexander Rodnyanskiy said that the "Kinotavr", which takes place in the time of dominance of American entertainment movies in cinemas, at the background of growing scepticism of the Russian audience as regards the mass Russian cinematography, the difficulties experienced by the author-style filmmakers and films, which, however, quite worthily represent Russia abroad, and the difficulties in the Russian film distribution industry, should fix the state of affairs in the Russian cinematography.

Southern Caucasus: Hillary Clinton's visit to the region and aggravation in Karabakh conflict zone

On June 4-7, during her visit to Southern Caucasus, the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to strain their efforts to achieve settlement based on the principles of the OSCE Helsinki Final Act. Her visit coincided in time with the aggravation in the conflict zone: incidents on June 4-5 on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, and mutual accusations of the opponents of illegal border crossings - the Ministries of Defence of both countries reported the deaths of five Azerbaijani and three Armenian soldiers.

Experts from Armenia said, in their comments on the border incidents, that the Armenian-Azerbaijani border needs strengthening and retaliatory actions in response Azerbaijanis' ones. In their turn, Azerbaijani experts expressed the opinion that the armed clashes were provoked in order to show to the US high official the destructive position of Azerbaijan, and that Russia is interested in exacerbation of the conflict situation in the region.

On June 7, both Baku and Yerevan hosted actions organized by public organizations of the countries. In the capital of Azerbaijan, activists of the Karabakh Liberation Organization demanded, while rallying at the UN Office in Baku, immediate actions to liberate the territories, considered by Azerbaijan as occupied. In the Armenian capital, the participants of the march, organized by the "Ayazn Union" handed over a letter to the administration of President Serzh Sargsyan demanding to review the criteria of "response actions", stop all direct and indirect diplomatic relations with Azerbaijan, and include Nagorno-Karabakh into Armenia.

KBR: high-ranking officials detained on suspicion of fraud

On June 7, searches were conducted in homes and offices of senior officials of the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic (KBR); they were undertaken within a criminal case initiated under the "fraud" article. The detainees - Ruslan Zhamborov, the head of the Federal Postal Service for the KBR and the former Deputy Minister of State Property and Land Resources of the Republic; Vladimir Zhamborov, the head of the administration of the president of the KBR; Khabdulsalam Ligidov, the Minister for State Property Management of the Republic; and businesswoman Madina Khatsukova - were delivered to Moscow. There, the Tver Court ruled to arrest the Zhamborovs and Lidigov.

According to investigators, the officials had handed over the building in Nalchik Philharmonic Society to Khatsukova for 1 million roubles while its cost is 20 million. Ruslan Zhamborov, arrested on suspicion of embezzling, denies his guilt. The advocate of Vladimir Zhamborov has also treated the incident with his client as "a monstrous provocation." The case is also notable for the fact that according to Michail Belgorokov, the husband of Madina Khatsukova, his wife is a cousin of the wife of the head of Kabardino-Balkaria Arsen Kanokov.

Geneva: another round of debates on Georgia's conflicts with Abkhazia and South Ossetia was fruitless

On June 7-8, Geneva hosted the 20th round of debates, which were launched after the 2008 war in South Ossetia. In the course of this round, the delegations of Abkhazia and South Ossetia issued a joint statement, where they emphasized the incorrect use in relation to them of the terms "occupation" and "occupied territories", among other things, from the viewpoint of the norms and principles of the international law.

Also, the South-Ossetian delegation raised the issue of activating the search of the citizens of the republic, who went missing in 1989-1992 and 2008. The members of the delegation said that reports are coming to them about the existence of mass burials of killed Ossetians in the territory of Georgia.

Following the meetings, the South Ossetian representatives said that the Georgian party had once again refused to accept the compromise draft presented by the Russian Federation, thus, driving to the deadlock the debates on the key point on the agenda of the Geneva Debates. In his turn, the head of the Georgian delegation, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergi Kapanadze said that "the non-constructive position of Moscow and representatives of the puppet regimes" had not allowed finding common approaches to the problems.

Moscow: cold and traumatic weapons were used in a mass brawl of local football fans with natives of Northern Caucasus

On June 5 in Moscow, a fight burst out among natives of Northern Caucasus and football fans. Three persons were injured; and, according to law enforcers, the fighters made use of cold and traumatic weapons. On June 6, the police detained Dikhkam Rizvanov, a 22-year-old native of Chechnya. On June 8, the Presnya Court of Moscow sanctioned Rizvanov's arrest; he was officially charged with an attempted murder. Investigators also accused the second participant of the fight at the "Evropeiskiy" Trading Centre - Magomed Ildiev, also a native of Chechnya. He was put on the international wanted list.

On June 8, when trying to deliver the witnesses of the fight at the "Evropeiskiy" TC in Moscow to the investigator, the police faced opposition from students of the Maimonides State Classical Academy. A fight burst out; and several policemen were injured. The rector of the Academy, in his turn, said that OMON (riot police) agents had beaten students and behaved illegally. Three students were detained for attacking the policemen.

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