27 August 2012, 09:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of August 20-26

Fourth anniversary of recognition of independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia; start of trials on the massacre in Kuschevskaya and terror act at Moscow "Domodedovo" Airport; new flood in Krasnodar Territory; another victory of Makhachkala "Anji" FC and attack on its fans in St Petersburg; refusal of one of oppositional parties to participate in parliamentary elections in Georgia, – look these and other events in the Caucasus in the review of the week of August 20-26, 2012, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Southern Caucasus: Abkhazia and South Ossetia celebrate fourth anniversary of recognition of their independence

On August 26, Abkhazia and South Ossetia marked the fourth anniversary of Russia's recognition of their independence. The recognition was a result of the five-day war, which began on August 8, 2008, with an outbreak of Georgia-South Ossetia warfare; Russia intervened in the military conflict and treated it as forcing Georgia to peace.

The Russia's recognition of independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia was treated by Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili as "lawlessness"; while on August 28, 2008, the Georgian Parliament voted to break diplomatic relations with Russia and confirmed the status of Russian troops in the territory of the country as "occupational", which is still in force today.

Krasnodar Territory: start of trial on massacre in Kuschevskaya and a new flood – in Tuapse District

On August 20, the Krasnodar Territorial Court began considering the murder case of 12 people in the village of Kuschevskaya. The defendants' custody was extended by six months; while the victims' advocates asked the court to give them time for studying the case files. The court satisfied the defendants' motion to be tried by a jury. The alleged head of the gang Sergey Tsapok refused to plead guilty. The next session is scheduled for September 20.

At night on August 22, during a rainstorm, the Nechepsukho River overflowed its banks, leading to flooding the households in the village of Novomikhailovsky, Tuapse District of the Krasnodar Territory; later, the state of emergency was introduced there. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), the flood killed four people. The water was about 2 meters high, as locals assert. According to preliminary estimates, the damage is about one billion roubles. The authorities of the territory have decided to pay compensations to the victims; and about a thousand people are already on the list of the victims to receive a lump sum of 10,000 roubles.

On August 23, the first 150 residents of the city of Krymsk, whose houses were destroyed during the flood on July 7 and who decided to stay and live in the city, received the keys to new apartments. The apartments are already equipped with gas stoves, refrigerators and other household appliances. In total, the flood destroyed almost 550 houses of Krymsk residents, who are free to choose residence in their city or in any other municipality of the Krasnodar Territory. According to the administration of the territory, they will receive their new housing in the near future.

Moscow: court starts trying terror act at "Domodedovo" Airport

On August 20, a preliminary hearing on the terror act at the "Domodedovo" Airport on January 24, 2011, which killed 37 people, was held. All the four defendants are natives of Ingushetia. The Moscow Regional Court decided to hold the trial behind closed doors; however, the advocates of two defendants have already announced their intention to appeal against this decision. According to one of them, his client Ilez Yandiev is innocent of incriminated crimes. Earlier, the advocate of Bashir Khamkhoev had noted that his charge of complicity in the terror act was predetermined by the fact that her client had links with militants.

Dagestan: Makhachkala "Anji" FC wins again; its fans are attacked again

On August 23, the "Anji" Football Club (FC) from Makhachkala won (1:0) its Europa League match against the Dutch "AZ Alkmaar" FC at the "Locomotive" Stadium in Moscow; in the course of the match more than 70 persons were detained, mostly for petty hooliganism. During the match, thousands of Makhachkala fans chanted: "We want to play in Dagestan!" Fans of the "Locomotive" FC, in their turn, shouted obscenities to "Anji" players and fans. In the second half, Moscow fans began throwing flares onto the pitch; and after the game, there were several clashes between Dagestani fans and local nationalists – fans of Moscow clubs.

On August 22 in St Petersburg, an attack was committed on "Anji" fans, who had gathered for going to Moscow to the upcoming match. When the bus arrived, a group of young people ran out of the neighbouring yards and began beating Makhachkala fans. According to different sources, there were 25-30 to 80 attackers. Three persons were hospitalized with various traumas. The police claimed that the attack on "Anji" fans had no interethnic nature; and six persons were detained on the fact of the incident.

It is noteworthy that after the match of "Anji" versus "Zenit" (St Petersburg) on August 19 in Makhachkala, and attack on "Zenit" fans was reported. Fans from St Petersburg disseminated a message in social networks that after the match two "Zenit" fans were dragged under the stadium stalls and severely beaten. However, on August 21, Alexander Meitin, the director for security of the Russian Football Premier League (RFPL), said that the reports about beaten "Zenit" fans were not confirmed. However, on the same day, one of the leaders of the fan movement of "Zenit" Ruslan Dryuma reported that Alexander Rumyantsev, one of the leaders of "Zenit" fans, was operated on in St Petersburg after the attack in Makhachkala. The police of St Petersburg promised to make a check.

Georgia: second oppositional party refuses to participate in parliamentary elections and supports Ivanishvili's coalition

On August 24, Giorgi Gachechiladze, the leader of the oppositional "Green Party" said that his party would not take part in the upcoming parliamentary elections on October 1, as he believes that the oppositional coalition of the businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili "Georgian Dream" has more chances to win. Mr Gachechiladze also called on the voters and supporters of the "Green Party" to support Ivanishvili's block – the "Georgian Dream" – at the elections.

Earlier – with the aim to optimize the votes – the oppositional party "Democratic Movement – United Georgia", headed by the ex-speaker Nino Burjanadze, refused to take part in the elections; and on August 19 Ivanishvili met Burjanadze and said that her decision not to stand for the election to Parliament was "absolutely patriotic." Ivanishvili noted, however, that he could not demand the same refusal from the elections from other oppositional parties; and Ms Burjanadze could be invited to work for the government after the elections.

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