19 November 2012, 08:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of November 12-18

Protest action of opposition in Baku demanding to dissolve the parliament; detention of more than a dozen former senior MIA officials in Georgia; end of debates at Mirzaev's trial; rapist of a child in the hospital in Budennovsk, Stavropol Territory, sentenced; start of trial on massacre in Kuschevskaya and population of new district in Krymsk heavily hit by flood in July; approval of government heads by parliamentarians of Kalmykia and Karachay-Cherkessia, – look these and other events in the Caucasus in the review of the week of November 12-18, 2012, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Azerbaijani opposition demands dissolution of parliament

On November 17, Fountain Square in central Baku hosted an unauthorized opposition protest action demanding dissolution of the parliament. Reinforced units of the police and rapid response regiment of the MIA prevented protesters from gathering in the square. They dispersed small groups of people who appeared in the square chanting "Resign!" and "Dissolve parliament!" and detained most active protesters. According to opposition parties, more than 65 protesters were detained; ten of them were sentenced to 5-7 days of administrative arrest on charges of disobeying police; others were released after warning or on the way to the police station. According to the opposition, some protesters were injured.

The reason for the demand to dissolve the parliament was the publication on September 25 of a video of a conversation of the MP Gyular Akhmedova with the former rector of the Azerbaijani International University Elshad Abdullaev, during which they discussed the sum of bribe for electing the latter a member of the People's Assembly of Azerbaijan.

Georgia: dozen former senior MIA officials detained

On November 15, 12 former senior officials of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) were detained in Georgia for tapping telephones of the oppositional politicians, who are currently in power. On the same day in the evening, after questioning at the prosecutor's office, the former deputy Mayor of Tbilisi and Deputy Interior Minister Shota Khizanishvili was detained on suspicion of abuse of power. On November 16, Tengiz Gunava, the former head of General Inspection of the MIA of Georgia was detained on suspicion of illegal possession of weapons and drug dealing.

These detentions continued the arrests initiated on November 7, when Bacho Akhalaya, the former Minister of Defence and head of the MIA of Georgia, Giorgi Kalandadze, the Chief of Joint Staff of the Armed Forces of Georgia, and Zurab Shamatava, the commander of the 4th Brigade of the Ministry of Defence, were detained under the case of beating six officers in 2011. Earlier, the members of the "United National Movement" had treated the arrest of Akhalaya as a political order of the new authorities and Bidzina Ivanishvili, the leader of the coalition "Georgian Dream" – the winner of the parliamentary elections on October 1.

Judges in Mirzaev's case retire for sentencing

On November 15, the trial at the Zamoskvoretsky Court of Moscow, which considers the case against the wrestlers from Dagestan Rasul Mirzaev, after whose punch the Moscow student Ivan Agafonov died, finished the parties' debates; and on the same day the results of the new examination were announced, which failed to reveal a direct link between Mirzayev's punch and Agafonov's death. Then, the prosecutor asked to reclassify the case to a softer charge – "causing death by negligence" (Article 109 of the Russian Criminal Code), appoint the punishment of two years of freedom restraint and release him from custody. The court appointed sentencing for November 27.

Stavropol Territory: rapist of the child in the hospital in Budennovsk convicted

On November 15, the court of the city of Budennovsk sentenced Eugeny Vorotyntsev, a resident of Budennovsk, who was found guilty of raping a nine-year-old girl on April 20, 2011, in the hospital of Budennovsk, to 15 years in high security colony. The trial was held behind closed doors. On October 25, the jury found the evidence gathered by the investigation sufficient for establishing the defendant's guilt. So far, no comments are available from Vorotyntsev and his representatives at the court; however, earlier, on August 3, he refused to plead guilty; and his lawyer Lyudmila Aivazova stated that the case against her client had been fabricated.

Krasnodar Territory: flood victims move into new district in Krymsk, and start of trial on massacre in Kuschevskaya

On November 12, the spokesman of the administration of the Krasnodar Territory announced that the new district named "Nadezhda" (Hope), built for the victims of the July flood in Krymsk, was completely populated; the keys to new apartments were granted to 368 families – in total, about a thousand people. The move-in process began on November 8; builders have constructed three apartment buildings there.

On November 13, a court in Krasnodar began considering on the merits the criminal case on the mass murder on November 5, 2010, in the village of Kuschevskaya, which is heard with participation of a jury. The session listened to the indictment. Three times the defence lodged motions to challenge the presiding judge, but they were rejected. Then, the court went on to study the case files.

Kalmykia: new Prime Minister approved

On November 13, the deputies of the People's Hural (Parliament) of Kalmykia supported Igor Zotov, who was nominated to the post of Prime Minister by the head of the Republic of Kalmykia Alexei Orlov. Before that, on October 19, the government of Kalmykia headed by Lyudmila Ivanova since February 15, 2011, was dismissed. According to Mr Orlov, the dismissal was caused by the need of radical changes in the socio-economic development of the Republic of Kalmykia. After the approval of the Prime Minister, the head of the republic stated his intention to renovate the staff of the government by more than a half.

Karachay-Cherkessia: head of government replaced

On November 12, the head of Karachay-Cherkessia Rashid Temrezov accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Indris Kyabishev, who was elected to the National Assembly at the single-member constituency No. 6 of Cherkessk at elections on October 14. On November 14, Mr Temrezov offered the deputies the candidacy of Murat Kardanov to the post of Prime Minister. His previous post was Deputy Director of the Directorate of Capital Construction of Karachay-Cherkessia, where he oversaw the construction of the ski resort Arkhyz. On November 15, at the regular session of the National Assembly (Parliament) the deputies Karachay-Cherkessia approved Kardanov as Prime Minister by majority of votes.

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