12 November 2012, 09:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of November 5-11

Arrest of Bacho Akhalaya, Georgia's ex-Minister of Defence and Interior; election of the new Mayor of Grozny; start of trial on massacre in Kuschevskaya, first session of the Legislative Assembly of the Krasnodar Territory, and fight of policemen in Tuapse; verdict of guilty to figurant in "Chitigov's case" in Ingushetia; resignation of the minister of construction and architecture of the Stavropol Territory; nomination of candidates for the Mayor of Novocherkassk, – look these and other events in the Caucasus in the review of the week of November 5-11, 2012, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Georgia: arrest of Bacho Akhalaya, ex-Minister of Defence and Interior

Bacho Akhalaya, the former Minister of Defence and Interior of Georgia, who left the post of the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) on September 20 after the incident related to torturing inmates in Gldani Prison No. 8 and left Georgia, on November 5 returned to the country and was detained at night on November 7. Charges were presented to him, as well as to detained Giorgi Kalandadze, Chief of General Staff of Georgia, and Zurab Shamatava, Commander of Division No. 4, of beating six officers in 2011.

On November 9, the Tbilisi City Court ruled to preliminarily detain Akhalaya for two months, while Kalandadze and Shamatava were released on bail of 20,000 laris each. Akhalaya's advocates have challenged his arrest, believing that it was unjustified. According to local observers, the public of Georgia is dissatisfied, as people had expected an inquiry into Akhalaya's actions in episodes of prison executions, while supporters of the "United National Movement" treat his arrest as a political order of the new power and personally of Bidzina Ivanishvili, the leader of the coalition "Georgian Dream" – the winner of the October 1 parliamentary elections.

Chechnya: post of Grozny Mayor awarded to Islam Kadyrov

On November 9, the City Soviet of Deputies approved Islam Kadyrov, a relative of the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, as the new Mayor of the City of Grozny. Islam Kadyrov was the Minister of Property and Land Relations, and earlier – First Deputy of the Head of the Administration of Grozny. The post of the Mayor became vacant after the previous one – Muslim Khuchiev – who kept the position since 2007, was dismissed on October 8 for machinations with land plots.

Krasnodar Territory: start of trial on massacre in Kuschevskaya, first session of Legislative Assembly, fight of policemen in Tuapse

On November 8, the Krasnodar Territorial Court finalized the formation of the panel of jurymen for considering the criminal case on the massacre committed in the village of Kuschevskaya in November 2010, consisting of 12 main and 19 substitute (reserved) jurymen. On that very day the hearing on the merits began; the court sessions are held open. On November 9, the court satisfied the motion of the prosecution about termination of criminal prosecution on minor crimes of four defendants, while the main suspect Sergey Tsapok accused investigators of illegal methods of getting evidence, applied to him.

On November 7, the first session of the Legislative Assembly of the Krasnodar Territory of the fifth convocation took place, which now comprises, after the voting on October 14, 95 members of the "Edinaya Rossiya" (United Russia) Party and five – of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF). Vladimir Beketov, 63, who was recommended by the United Russia and who had been heading the Assembly for 17 years – since the first convocation in 1995 – was elected to be the Chair of the Territorial Parliament.

At night on November 5, a fight with participation of police bosses burst out in the city of Tuapse, in which one person was wounded. After the incident, six policemen – the head of the MIA Division for the Tuapse District, the support commander of this division, two chief GIBDD (road police) inspectors, and inspector, and the head of the criminal search – were dismissed. As a result of the check conducted by the Investigatory Committee a criminal case was initiated against the head of the district MIA under the articles of the Russia Criminal Code dealing with intentional damage to one's property, hooliganism with the use of firearms, infliction of minor damage to one's health; and against the chief GIBDD inspector – under the article of beating someone out of hooligan intentions.

Ingushetia: court sentences one figurant in "Chitigov's case" to 8 years of colony and acquits the other one

On November 7, the court sentenced Ilyas Nalgiev, the ex-head of the criminal police of Karabulak to eight years of high security colony on the case of torture applied to Zelimkhan Chitigov, a refugee from Chechnya. Another figurant in the case – Nazir Guliev, an ex-employee of the MIA of Ingushetia, – was acquitted by the court, as the judge found that Guliev's guilt was not proved. Prior to sentencing, Svetlana Gannushkina, the chair of the committee "Civil Assistance", has stated that should Guliev had been acquitted in the "Chitigov's case", it had been a huge blow on the authority of the head of Ingushetia Yunus-Bek Evkurov.

Stavropol Territory: dismissal of local minister of construction and architecture

On November 6, at the weekly sitting of the government of the Stavropol Territory, the Governor Valery Zarenkov announced a dismissal of Yuri Kornet from the position of the minister of construction and architecture, where he was appointed in June this year, after Valery Zarenkov took the post of the Governor on May 5. It became known that Kornet left the post voluntarily; and during his work with the ministry he was know for his policy of cadre reshuffling. The name of his successor is unknown yet; his first deputy Andrei Butenko is now the acting head of the ministry.

Rostov Region: 11 to run for Mayor of Novocherkassk

On November 6, the election commission of Novocherkassk formed the final list of candidates for the Mayor of the city, whose early election will take place on December 2. In total, 19 persons expressed their intention to run for the post, of them, eleven were awarded the status of a candidate – four were nominated by parties, and seven other were self-nominees. The election was appointed after on September 26 the former Mayor of Novocherkassk – Communist Anatoly Kondratenko – wrote a resignation application.

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