03 December 2012, 13:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of November 26-December 2

Verdict to sambo wrestler Rasul Mirzaev; election of the Mayor of Novocherkassk; successful performance of groups from Georgia and Armenia at "Junior Eurovision-2012"; quarantine in the Krasnodar Territory after detection of avian influenza virus in dead migrating birds; selection of jurymen for trying the case of Yuri Budanov's murder; new conflicts around wearing hijabs in schools of the Stavropol Territory; charging ex-city manager of Stavropol and fight of townspeople for direct election of the Mayor, – look these and other events in the Caucasus in the review of the week of November 26 to December 2, 2012, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Court in Moscow sentences sambo wrestler Rasul Mirzaev

On November 27, the Zamoskvorechye Court of Moscow found the native of Dagestan Rasul Mirzaev guilty of an involuntary manslaughter of Ivan Agafonov and sentenced him to two years of restriction of freedom. With his served term accounted, Mirzaev released in the courtroom. During the sentencing, Agafonov's mother felt bad; and she was taken to the resuscitation unit with an infarction. The prosecutor has treated the verdict as legitimate; this opinion was shared by Mirzaev's defender, who stated that his client would not claim any compensation for the excessively served term in custody. The lawyers for the victims, in their turn, were dissatisfied and stated their intention to appeal against the verdict.

After sentencing, law enforcers blocked the Manege and Red Squares to prevent confrontation of groups of young people. It was a preventive measure against possible disorders that could be provoked by appeals of nationalists posted on the Internet. Well before Mirzaev's sentencing, they had repeatedly stated that any unfair verdict could provoke a relapse of the 2010 riot, organized by football fans in Manege Square after Caucasians had killed their colleague Yegor Sviridov.

Court experts are sure that the public resonance that had the form of an information bustle and a certain politicization of Mirzaev's criminal case, had essentially affected not only the verdict, but the trial as such. Representatives of the world of sports and human rights lawyers believe that the verdict passed to the sambo wrestler was adequate to his crime, while officials from the Investigatory Committee of the Russian Federation (ICRF) are still insisting on their version of qualifying Mirzaev's action as a premeditated murder.

Residents of Novocherkassk elected city Mayor out of 10 candidates

On December 2, the city of Novocherkassk, Rostov Region, opened its polling stations for early election of the Mayor. According to preliminary data of the Territorial Election Commission (TEC), as of 8:00 p.m., the voter turnout made 41.34 percent. After processing about 95 percent of ballots, the first vice-Mayor of Rostov-on-Don Vladimir Kirgintsev, a self-nominee, is in the lead with over 48 percent of votes.

In total, there were 10 candidates to the post, although initially there had been 19; however, eight were denied registration because of exceeding the limit of mistakes in the signatures collected by them. Also, the court removed Alexander Nevesyolov from the race, after he had been sued by two other candidates – Nikolai Lebedev and Ilya Turmanidze. The latter also claimed to remove the former city Mayor Anatoly Volkov from the election; however, the trial did not take place.

Performers from Georgia and of Armenia became prize-winners at "Junior Eurovision-2012"

The groups named "The Funkids" and "Compass Band", which represented Georgia and Armenia accordingly at the contest "Junior Eurovision-2012" that took place in the Netherlands on December 1, took the second and the third places after the winner – Ukraine. The Georgian group sang Funky Lemonade in funk style. The members of the group "Compass Band" from Armenia, which consisted of five boys, sang Sweet Baby, a song calling all the girls to smile.

Krasnodar Territory: avian flue killed hundreds migrating birds

Under decision of Governor Alexander Tkachov, on December 1, quarantine was introduced and hunting was banned in the Anapa and Temryuk Districts of the Krasnodar, after hundreds dead migrating birds were found there. The first messages about bird deaths, including swans, pelicans, ducks and coots, arrived on November 26. According to the Temryuk District Society of Hunters and Fishermen, they counted some 50-70 dead birds per every 100 square meters of the shore. As of November 29, there were over 600 dead birds. Experts from the local "Rosselkhoznadzor" (Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance) revealed the АН5 virus in them.

Now, specialists try to find out the places, from where the infected birds had arrived. The Prosecutor's Office has ordered them to inspect all the poultry farms of the territory. Every bird is checked and vaccinated.

MCC starts considering the murder of Yuri Budanov

On November 30, the Moscow City Court (MCC) selected a panel of jurymen for taking part in consideration of the criminal case dealing with the murder in June 2011 of the former colonel Yuri Budanov, who once took part in the Chechen War and was imprisoned under charges of murdering a Chechen girl. The panel consists of 12 main and 11 reserve jurymen.
Yusup Temerkhanov, a native of Chechnya, is the main suspect of killing Budanov; he was arrested in August 2011. His advocates have stated that illegal inquiry methods had been applied to their client; and that Temerkhanov had refused to evidence. The trial on the merits of Budanov's murder will start on December 3.

Stavropol Territory: new conflicts because of wearing hijabs in school, presenting charges to Bestuzhy; fight of Stavropol residents for direct election of the Mayor

On November 27, the final charge was presented to Igor Bestuzhy, a former head of the administration of Stavropol, who was detained on February 2 under suspicion of an attempt to take an especially big bribe for granting a land plot into lease. Bestuzhy is accused of committing crimes envisioned by part 3, Article 30, part 6, Article 290 (attempt of taking a bribe), part 1, Article 222 (illegal arms circulation), and part 6, Article 290 (receiving of an especially big bribe) of the Russian Criminal Code. Earlier, inspectors had stated that Bestuzhy had twice admitted his guilt; however, his defence had refuted these assertions of the investigators.

On November 28, the Stavropol City Election Commission registered an initiative group of voters, who offer to hold a city referendum aimed at making amendments in the City Charter to return the direct election of the Mayor. The group consists of 12 activists headed by Vasily Krasulya, the chairman of the public organization "Congress of Stavropol Intellectuals". The provision about direct elections was withdrawn from the City Charter by the decision of the local Duma in 2009; and now the Mayor of Stavropol is elected by deputies from among themselves; and by the outcomes of such tender, a municipal contract is concluded with the head of the city administration.

Last week, new facts became known of non-admission to school of girls in hijabs in various dwelling settlements of the territory; and that the regional Spiritual Administration of Muslims (SAM) had asked the authorities to cancel the decision about the school uniform, which was recommended for introduction before December 20 in all the schools of the territory. One of the points of the document adopted by the regional government was a ban on wearing any religious clothes or clothes with any confessional symbols in schools. The decision was made soon after the conflict with the ban to wear hijabs in the school of the village of Kara-Tyube, Neftekum District, in October this year.

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