05 November 2012, 09:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of October 29 to November 4

Actions of nationalists in cities of Southern Russia on the National Unity Day; resignation of the government of Kabardino-Balkaria; preliminary results of census and Raffi Ovannisyan's intention to run for presidency in Armenia; killing of imam of Dagestani mosque; sentencing of ex-policemen accused of torturing detainees; and a hunger strike of oppositionists in Ingushetia, – look these and other events in the Caucasus in the review of the week of October 29-November 4, 2012, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Nationalists mark Unity Day with marches in Southern Russia

On November 4, the National Unity Day, marked in Russia, several cities hosted nationalists' marches.

The organizers of the "Russian March" in Pyatigorsk received a ban from the administration of the city; however, they still tried to hold their action in the park near the monument to General Ermolov. Several nationalists, who tried to unfold the imperial tricolours and march with them, were taken to a police station by inspectors of the patrol-and-post service (known as PPS).

In Krasnodar, the "Russian March" was coordinated with the city administration. According to organizers, more than a thousand people gathered in Chistyakov Grove. Apart from speeches at the rally, the programme of the action included concert performances, demonstrational knife fights and dances. The event lasted for two hours and event ended with crying the slogans: "Russians are invincible!" and shouting "Hurrah!"

In Volgograd, the march organized by nationalist organizations was about 500 strong. The marchers followed a four-kilometre route; they carried posters and banners including "The Russian city of Volgograd", "Russia in Russian way!", "No to lezginkas on Russian land!" and "Russian, stop tanking up!" Some posters also contained political appeals. The march ended with a rally, where speakers spoke in support of political prisoners and demanded resignation of Governor Sergey Bozhenov.

On November 4, "Russian Marches" took place in Moscow and other cities of Russia, while in Rostov-on-Don and Stavropol the actions of nationalists were banned. In Taganrog, where the action had been agreed, the organizers of the "Russian March" cancelled it, fearing not to cope with the situation.

Kabardino-Balkaria: republic's head sacks his government

On November 1, the leader of the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic (KBR) Arsen Kanokov signed a decree on resignation of the republic's government, which had been in office since late April 2011 and was led by Ivan Gerter. On the eve, on October 31, the resignation of Valery Zhilov, First Deputy Prime Minister of the KBR (he took office this February), was announced under the motive of his transfer to another post. Mr Kanokov motivated his decision by the need for change. On the same day, the Parliament of the KBR approved Ruslan Khasanov as Chairman of the Government.

The resignation of the government of the KBR was caused by a number of criminal cases involving high-ranking officials, while the task of forming a new government faced a problem with the cadre deficit, activists of public organizations of the republic said in this regard.

Armenia: announcement of preliminary results of 2011 census, and statement of Raffi Ovannisyan about his intention to run for presidency

On October 31, at a press conference in Yerevan, Karine Kuyumjyan, Head of the Division for Census and Demography of the National Statistical Service of Armenia, reported the preliminary results of the census, held in October 2011. According to the census, the resident population of Armenia totalled 3,018,854 people; that is, during 10 years the population of Armenia had dropped by almost 195,000 people.

On November 2, Raffi Ovannisyan, an ex-Foreign Minister and the today's leader of the "Heritage" Party, declared his readiness to participate in the presidential election scheduled for February 2013. Earlier, the same desire was expressed by Paruir Airikyan, the leader of the association "National Self-Determination", and Aram Karapetyan, Chairman of the "New Times" Party. The congress of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia, planned for December 15, has a point in the agenda to nominate the incumbent President Serzh Sargsyan as a presidential candidate.

Dagestan: imam of local mosque shot dead in Derbent

In the morning on October 30 it became known in Derbent about the murder of Kalimulla Ibragimov, his father and brother; they all were shot dead by unidentified persons on their way to the mosque for the morning prayer. Kalimulla Ibragimov was the Imam of the Salafi mosque, a reader of the "Caucasian Knot" had earlier reported by using the SMS-service. However, according to the investigation, Kalimulla Ibragimov was not an official imam and mullah – he was an ordinary parishioner. So far, no versions of the murder have been announced. However, local residents link the murder with Kalimulla's religious activities, believing that the murder "was caused by differences in the vision of Islam by Ibragimov and his opponents."

Ingushetia: sentencing of ex-policemen accused of torture and oppositionists' hunger strike

On October 29, the Karabulak Court in Ingushetia began announcing the verdict in the case against Ilyas Nalgiev, the former head of the criminal police of Karabulak and Nazir Guliev, the former head of the OVD (Interior Division) of Karabulak, accused of torturing detainees, including Zelimkhan Chitigov, who had earlier reported that because of threats from the defendants he was forced to leave Russia. The Court has already announced that in the episode with Chitigov Nalgiev's guilt was completely proved. This eek, the sentencing will continue.

In Nazran, on October 29, the supporters of the regional public movement "Mekhk-Khel " went on an endless hunger strike demanding resignation of Ingushetia's leadership and enforcement of the law on rehabilitation of repressed nations. By the evening of the same day, policemen detained several hunger-strikers under the pretext that they had disobeyed the order to leave the building, where evacuation was carried out after a message about planted bomb. Five of the detainees were arrested for 15 days. The detainees themselves deny any disobeying the police and claim that they continue their hunger strike in jail.

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