24 July 2012, 11:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of July 16-22

Start of the sacred Muslim month of Ramadan; presidential elections in Nagorno-Karabakh; mass brawl, a serious road accident and election of Mayor of Nevinnomyssk in the Stavropol Territory; Shein loses trials in district courts of Astrakhan on abolition of Mayor election; start of consideration of Rasul Mirzaev's case, – look these and other events in the Caucasus in the review of the week of July 16-22, 2012, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Muslims of the Caucasus start Ramadan fasting with prayers for assassinated Deputy Mufti of Tatarstan

Muslims have started their sacred month of Ramadan, during which they observe a strict fasting. This year, in all countries and regions, the beginning of Ramadan was officially announced on the same day – July 20, including Chechnya, which in previous years started Ramadan one day later than in Muslim countries and other regions of Russia. However, in Dagestan some residents believe that Ramadan starts on July 21.

In many mosques of Southern Russia the month of Ramadan began with prayers for the Deputy Mufti of Tatarstan, who was killed on July 19. Northern Caucasus changed the regime of public catering entities and decreased the number of stores that sell alcoholic beverages.

Nagorno-Karabakh: presidential election unrecognized by international community

On July 19, Nagorno-Karabakh held presidential election, won by the incumbent President Bako Saakyan, who has won 67.65 percent of votes. Vitaly Balasanyan won 32.51 percent, and Arkady Sogomonyan – 0.84 percent. The losers have already stated that they consider the election free; and Armenian experts noted that the presidential election in Nagorno-Karabakh was held in the conditions of political competition.

None of the delegations of international observers found any violations during the election. At the same time, Azerbaijan considers the election in Nagorno-Karabakh illegal; the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) also condemned the election in Nagorno-Karabakh. Representatives of the NATO and the EU also noted that they did not recognize the presidential election in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Stavropol Territory: mass brawl, serious road accident and election of Mayor of Nevinnomyssk

On July 16, in the city of Zheleznovodsk, a PAZ bus, which drove along route No. 104, tipped over. 24 people were injured, including three minors; three patients were placed into the intensive care unit. As of July 18, one woman was in grave condition – she was placed with fractures into the resuscitation unit. According to the preliminary version, the road accident was caused by a failure of the bus brake system after its driver quitted the roadway when on the slope.

A mass brawl burst out in the evening on July 21 in Kislovodsk. The conflict occurred between three young men and a group of people in camouflage in an amount of about 15 persons. As a result of the fight two persons were killed. Three persons were detained; and after the incident the city police was transferred into a strengthened regime of service.

On July 22, an early election of Mayor of Nevinnomyssk took place, which was appointed because the previous head of the city Konstantin Khramov resigned, as he became the chairman of the government of the Volgograd Region. In total, nine candidates were nominated, six of them were registered – the Communist Vasily Iver; Sergey Batynyuk from the "Edinaya Rossiya" (United Russia) Party; Alexander Pelyukh from the LDPR; Vladimir Ivanov from the "Spravedlivaya Rossiya" (Fair Russia) Party, and two self-nominees Vladimir Shevchenko and Sergey Panchenko. According to preliminary data, as of the morning on July 23, Sergey Batynyuk is in the lead.

Astrakhan: loss by Shein of lawsuits in all district courts of the city

All the Astrakhan district court have rejected the lawsuits lodged by Oleg Shein, a former candidate for the Mayor of the city and a member of the "Spravedlivaya Rossiya" (Fair Russia) Party, who demanded to abolish the election outcomes of the Mayor, held on March 4. On July 16, a negative decision was passed by the court of the Kirov District; the Lenin District Court of Astrakhan completed the consideration of Oleg Shein's civil case on July 17. On July 18, Shein received dismissals from the Trusov and Soviet District Courts.

According to Oleg Shein, he had been initially prepared for such decisions of local courts; and now he is able to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). He lodged his lawsuits to district courts of Astrakhan after on June 15 the Kirov District Court of Astrakhan refused to satisfy his claim of cancellation of the election, suggesting him to challenge violations at the four district courts of the regional capital.

Moscow: court begins considering Mirzaev's case

On July 17, the Moscow Zamoskvoretsky Court held a preliminary hearing on the case of Rasul Mirzaev, after whose punch Ivan Agafonov, a 19-year-old Muscovite, died. During the session, a motion of the defence was submitted asking to return the case to the prosecutor and re-qualify it, but the court rejected it. Also, Mirzaev's advocate moved a motion to exclude the conclusions of the latest examination held at the Burdenko Institute from the list of evidences; the examination concludes that Mirzaev had used his combat skills. The court dismissed the motion.

According to the court decision, Rasul Mirzaev remains in custody; the date of hearing on the merits is scheduled for July 25.

During the court session Mirzaev also apologized to the Agafonov family.

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