13 August 2012, 08:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of August 6-12

Successful Caucasian athletes at London Olympics; fourth anniversary of August events in South Ossetia; suicide bombing in Chechnya; start of trial in Iran of Azerbaijani poets; appointment of city manager in Stavropol; another victory of "Anji" FC Europa League; end of trial on resonant criminal case against the world champion in mixed martial arts Rasul Mirzaev, – look these and other events in the Caucasus in the review of the week of August 6-12, 2012, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Olympics-2012: athletes from Caucasus continue successful performances in London

The last week of the London Olympics was quite successful for the athletes representing the countries of Transcaucasia and regions of Southern Russia: it is enough just to enumerate the Olympic Champions.

Among them, the Azerbaijani freestyle wrestlers Togrul Askerov (60 kg) and Sharif Sharifov (84); while Arthur Taymazov, a native of North Ossetia and a member of the national team of Uzbekistan, became a three-time Olympic champion also in freestyle wrestling in the weight category up to 120 kg; and the freestyle wrestler Jamal Otarsultanov, who represented the Chechen Republic at the Olympic Games in London, won the competition in his weight category (up to 55 kg). The Russian Greco-Roman wrestler Alan Khugaev from Vladikavkaz became the Olympic Champion in the weight category of up to 84 kg.

A runner Yulia Zaripova, a native of the Volgograd Region, won the Olympic Gold Medal in 3000-steeplechase. Ilya Zakharov, an athlete from the Stavropol Territory, won the Olympic gold medal in diving from a three-meter springboard – the first Russia's Olympic medal in diving for 32 years. Anna Chicherova, a member of the delegation of the Rostov Region, won gold in high jump with the result of 2.05. The same was done by Tatiana Lysenko, the world champion in hammer throw, a native of Bataisk, who was also a member of the delegation of the Rostov Region. On August 12, the Russian national team in rhythmic gymnastics was the first in the group all-around event at the Olympics; and Alina Makarenko from Kalmykia, was the team member.

South Ossetia: four years after August conflict with Georgia

On August 8, 2008, exactly four years ago, warfare burst out in South Ossetia, which developed into a Georgian-Russian military conflict. Russia and Georgia have marked the anniversary with mutual accusations of unleashing the conflict. In South Ossetia, the mourning ceremonies to mark the fourth anniversary of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict began in the evening on August 7. Also, the victims of the August conflict were commemorated in Russia and Georgia. The events in Tskhinvali were attended by Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, whose visit was treated as illegal by the Georgian Foreign Ministry.

On the eve of the fourth anniversary of the August events in South Ossetia, a documentary named "The Lost Day. Whole Truth about War" was posed on the YouTube. In the film, former military bosses accuse Dmitry Medvedev of protracting with the military response to the Georgian aggression in South Ossetia, telling about the start of the war on August 7, not August 8, 2008. The main mystery is in the producer of the film, since none of the Russian TV studios has admitted being involved in its production.

Chechnya: suicide bombers' blast

On August 6, two explosions occurred in Baisangur Benoisky Street in the Oktiabrsky District of Grozny. Operative police agents found fragments of a "shahid belt" in the venue. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), the explosions killed four Russian militaries. Two more servicemen, a Chechen policeman and a local resident were wounded. According to the Chechen MIA, the suicide bombers were identified as Salman Gekhaev, 25, a resident of the city of Gudermes, and Ali Demilkhanov, 29, a resident of the village of Geldagan, Kurchaloy District of Chechnya. The total power of the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) used by the suicide bombers was eight kilograms in TNT (trotyl) equivalent.

The Chechen authorities believe that the explosions in Grozny were organized by the well-known Chechen field commanders – brothers Hussein and Muslim Gakaev, who, according to Chechen power agents, in 2009, prepared and committed a series of terror acts involving suicide bombers in Grozny and were then put on the international wanted list.

Azerbaijan: Two Azerbaijani poets brought to justice in Iran

On August 7, Iran held the trial of Azerbaijani poets Farid Gusein and Shakhriyar Gadjizade, who were arrested in Tabriz on May 2 on the way back from Tehran, where they attended a presentation of a collection of poems of a local poet. The Iranian authorities acknowledged their arrest only on June 21, but did not give any official explanations. The Vice-Consul of Azerbaijan Nariman Orujov was admitted to the detainees only on July 26; the poets told him that they had been accused of visiting Iran without a permit of this country's authorities. At the first session, the Azerbaijani citizens answered the questions about the aim of their visit and said that they had come to Iran "without any fraudulent intent to say nothing about any criminal intentions", just to participate in a poetry festival.

On the eve of the trial, on August 6, a group of Azerbaijani journalists held a protest action outside the Iranian Embassy in Baku, demanding a release of the arrested Azerbaijani poets Farid Gusein and Shakhriyar Gadjizade. Earlier, the arrest of the poets in Iran and non-admission of the Azerbaijani Consulate official to them had had caused a protest of the official Baku and the public. On July 5, a group of writers and journalists of Azerbaijan founded a "Committee in Defence of Rights of Poets Arrested in Iran".

Stavropol Territory: territorial capital receives a new city manager

On August 8, at a regular sitting of the Stavropol City Duma, 25 present deputies voted unanimously for the candidacy of the first deputy of the head of the administration Andrei Djatdoev for the post of the city manager. The contract will be signed with him for the term of the City Duma – till March 2016. The contest for the position of the city manager was announced after on June 8 the Stavropol City Duma terminated the contract with Igor Bestuzhy detained on suspicion of bribery. Initially, there were seven candidates, but the contest commission left three of them as the candidates for voting.

Andrei Djatdoev has named the personnel problems as one of his priorities, which he intends to address through consultations with the deputies and the government of the territory. Mr Djatdoev has also stated that in the near future he will raise before the committee the task of developing and adopting a registry of municipal property, which is currently absent in the city.

Dagestan: "Anji" FC from Makhachkala proceeds to next round of Europa League

On August 9, the "Anji" Football Club (FC) held a response match in the Netherlands, defeated the local "Vitesse" 2:0 and continued its fight for the European trophy. The first match held at the stadium of Ramenskoe, a Moscow suburb, ended 2:0 in favour of "Anji". Thus, the "Anji" FC proceeds to the next stage of the Europa League and adds points to the Russia's UEFA coefficient by its winning streak: four games – four wins. The total score in the Europa League is 9:0 in favour of the Dagestani club.

On August 10, the Swiss city of Nyon held a draw of the fourth qualifying round of Europa League; it became known that now the Makhachkala club will play against AZ Alkmaar from the Netherlands. The first leg of the play-off round of the second European Cup by importance after the Champions League will take place on August 23, and the second leg – on August 30.

Moscow: verdict to be announced on Mirzaev's case

On August 8, the Moscow Zamoskvorechye District Court completed considering of the resonant criminal case against the world champion in mixed martial arts Rasul Mirzaev from Dagestan. The court tries to establish Mirzaev's guilt of the death of the Moscow student Ivan Agafonov, who died on August 18, 2011, after on August 13, 2011, Mirzaev punched him in a conflict near the Moscow night club "Garage". The pre-trial hearing was held on July 17; the first hearing on the merits was held on July 25; and the sentencing is scheduled for August 14 at 12:00 a.m. Moscow time.

Mirzaev refuses to plead guilty of the death of Agafonov; and saying his last plea he apologized to the suffered party in the presence of a huge number of journalists for what had happened. It is noteworthy that during the debates the prosecutor Yulia Zotova asked the court to re-qualify Rasul Mirzaev's actions from Article 111 (intentional infliction of grave bodily harm), where the maximum penalty is 15 years in prison, to Article 109 (causing death by negligence) of the Russian Criminal Code, where maximum penalty is two years of imprisonment.

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