16 July 2012, 09:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of July 9-15

Liquidation of consequences of catastrophic flood in Krasnodar Territory; all-Caucasian camp "Mashuk" in Pyatigorsk; Film Festival "Golden Apricot" in Yerevan; reducing of the number of presidential candidates in Nagorno-Karabakh; exhibition of Islamic relics in Grozny; murder of an employee of the General Prosecutor's Office and the outcomes of the service check at the Ministry of Justice on application about a capture of party office in South Ossetia, - look these and other events in the Caucasus in the review of the week of July 9-15, 2012, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Krasnodar Territory: liquidation of flood consequences continues

According to the administration of the Krasnodar Territory, the death toll of the catastrophic flood on July 6-7 made 166. According to the Investigatory Committee of the Russian Federation (ICRF), 164 persons perished and eight more are still missing. According to the Ministry for Emergencies (MfE), 171 people perished. According to the territorial administration, the latest count of the houses destroyed in the city of Krymsk, the most affected by the disaster, is over 1370.

For the whole week, Krymsk was engaged and helped in clearing the rubbles and saw distribution of humanitarian aid collected in different regions of Russia and awarding first compensations. The territorial authorities are offering the flood victims of the Krymsk District to move into the apartments built in the suburbs of the city for military servicemen.

The officially announced reason of the flood was in heavy rains and poor passing capacity of the sewer systems. In the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment ("Minprirody") has stated that the "Rosprirodnadzor" (Russian Federal Agency for Nature Supervision) believes that one of the reasons for such severe consequences of the floods in the area of the Kuban River was in build-up of flood-hazardous territories. On July 15, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Krymsk, where he met local residents and invited them to control the process of assessing the flood damage, stating that all the victims of the flood in Krymsk would receive 160,000 roubles each.

A criminal case was initiated on the fact of the tragedy; and Vasily Krutsko, the head of the Krymsk District was dismissed. According to residents of Krymsk, they had not been warned about the danger, although the bosses of the division of civil defence and emergencies of the district administration claim that residents had been warned about the impending flood by means of sirens, SMS-messages and loudspeakers. The Russian Minister for Emergencies Vladimir Puchkov has acknowledged that the warning system in Krymsk had failed to work properly.

Stavropol Territory: all-Caucasian camp "Mashuk" has already approved over 800 projects

The All-Caucasian Youth Forum "Mashuk-2012" has been running from July 1 at the foot of Mount Mashuk in Pyatigorsk. The participants, who came from all the regions of Northern Caucasus, live in the tent camp and present their innovative projects to the jury of experts.

The total fund is of the forum makes 100 million roubles; however, the projects of young camp participants can be funded in the amount from 50 to 300 thousand roubles each - the financial support is granted in the form of premiums. The experts of the Fund "National Perspectives" and other youth policy specialists have already approved 811 projects. All the projects found eligible will also be discussed by a commission in Moscow. Alexander Khloponin, the Russian President's Envoy to the North-Caucasian Federal District (NCFD), who visited the forum "Mashuk-2012" on July 12, said that the control over execution of projects by participants of the "Mashuk" forum would be toughened.

Armenia: traditional Film Festival "Golden Apricot" receives unprecedented number of applications

On July 8-14, Yerevan hosted the IX International Film Festival "Golden Apricot". This year, the organizers received a record number of applications - 1250; of them, 150 films from 44 countries worldwide were selected. The films were contesting in four topical programmes: international feature and documentary films, "Armenian Panorama" and short feature films ''Kostochka" (Kernel).

As part of the festival, the "Moskva" Cinema hosted a presentation of a new off-the-contest programme "Cinematograph of CIS Countries", dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and a presentation of the festival programme "Film Directors Without Borders", which was expanded this year thanks to the EU financial support.

Nagorno-Karabakh: number of contenders for presidency goes down

On July 10, a sitting of the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Nagorno-Karabakh satisfied an application of a presidential candidate Valery Khachatryan not to continue his election campaign and not to run for the presidential election to take place on July 19. Thus, three candidates remain in the race - Vitaly Balasanyan, Bako Saakyan and Arkady Sogomonyan who are actively campaigning. Valery Khachatryan has already announced that he will support the incumbent President Bako Saakyan.

Experts predict a high voter turnout in elections and suggest that the main battle will be between two candidates - Vitaly Balasanyan and Bako Saakyan. Armenian political scientists note in the comments on the election campaign that the elections in Nagorno-Karabakh have become an integral part of the political process, and today the republic sees apparent competition in the election process.

Chechnya: exhibition of Muslim relics causes resonance

On July 11, a delegation of 45 persons, headed by Sheikh Ahmad bin Muhammad al-Hazrat brought Islamic relics from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Chechnya. In total, the Mosque "Heart of Chechnya" exhibits 16 relics, among them a strand of hair, a foot cast and a shoulder cloak of Prophet Muhammad, which, according to the legend, was on him at the night of his ascension to the heavens.

The exhibition of Muslim relics has caused a huge stir in Chechnya - tens of thousands residents of Northern Caucasus arrive in Chechnya to see the relics; they have to wait in long queues at the Mosque "Heart of Chechnya" in Grozny. On July 13, the Arab Sheikh handed four hairs of the Prophet Muhammad over to Chechnya for eternal storage.

South Ossetia: Kelekhsaev recognized as leader of the "People's Party"; and murder of GPO official

Last week it became known that the Ministry of Justice of South Ossetia sent an official answer to Roland Kelekhsaev in response to his complaint about the capture of the "People's Party"; in the answer the politician was named as the chairman of the party. On the eve of the 2009 parliamentary elections, the "People's Party" split into two parts; Kazimir Pliev became the chairman of the new party; and it passed into the parliament. Now, Mr Pliev has announced the recognition of Kelekhsaev as the party leader as illegitimate and expressed his intention to continue his political activities as the leader of the party after the parliamentary vacations.

In the morning on July 10, in the village of Vanat, the body of Roland Chitaev, the head of the Investigatory Department of the General Prosecutor's Office (GPO), was found. He was kidnapped from his house in Tskhinvali in the evening on July 9. Already on July 10, two suspects of committing the crime were detained - Ruslan Gabaraev, a former employee of the GPO, and Arthur Agaev, a current employee of the State Security Office. According to prosecutors, they have confessed of killing Chitaev. The investigation is considering several versions of the murder; the main being Chitaev's professional activities.

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