Banner at the press conference of the election committee in Stavropol Region. Photo: http://stavizbirkom.ru/news/2014/09/11/1209press_centr/

15 September 2014, 09:55

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of September 8-14

Voting in Southern Russia to elect heads of the four regions and legislative assemblies of three regions; closing TACs opened earlier for Ukrainian refugees in Rostov Region; adoption of the first reading of abolition of direct election of municipality heads in Dagestan, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of September 8-14, 2014, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

On United Voting Day, Southern Russia elected heads of four regions and legislative assemblies of three regions

On September 14, the so-called "United Voting Day", the Stavropol Territory and the Astrakhan and Volgograd Regions, and the Republic of Kalmykia voted to elect their regional leaders. On the same day, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachay-Cherkessia and the Volgograd Region elected their regional legislative bodies; besides, many municipalities in the North-Caucasian and Southern Federal Districts (NCFD and SFD) elected their local bodies of power, including the heads of Sochi, Novoshakhtinsk and Adygeisk, and members of the city assemblies of Elista and Vladikavkaz. During the voting day reports arrived about throw-in of ballot papers at a polling station in Astrakhan, voters' bribing in Volgograd, and removal of observers from polling stations in Vladikavkaz. Reports about violations were received also from the Krasnodar Territory.

By the morning of September 15, preliminary voting results became known, according to which, the nominees of the "Edinaya Rossiya" (United Russia) Party were in the lead in Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay-Cherkessia; the candidates from this party also headed the elections of the heads of Kalmykia, Stavropol Territory, and the Volgograd and Astrakhan Regions.

Gas explosion in apartment block, inhabited by forced migrants in Azerbaijani city of Khyrdalan

In the morning on September 8, in the city of Khyrdalan, Apsheron District of Azerbaijan, an explosion occurred in a five-storey residential block. The accident happened in a flat in the first floor of the block inhabited by refugees from the Gubadli District. According to the Ministry for Emergencies (MfE), the explosion was caused by a gas leak. During the search and rescue operations, four dead bodies, including a child, as well as nine injured persons were found. Nine families were provided with new housing in the village of Mekhdiabad. The authorities have promised to provide – within a month – to provide housing for all the remaining 30 families of refugees.

Mass poisoning in North Ossetia after water pipe repairs

On September 12, people with intestinal infection began arriving in the hospital of the Alagir District of North Ossetia. On September 14, the republic's government reported about 98 patients, whose health condition was assessed as satisfactory. As specified by the local branch of the "Rospotrebnadzor" (Russian Federal Agency for Consumer Supervision), the poisonings were caused by tap drinking water, where bacteria penetrated because of water line repairs.

Closure of TACs for Ukrainian refugees in Rostov Region

As reported on September 11 by the Rostov Regional Government, they closed the last of the temporary accommodation camps (TACs) – "Matveyev Kurgan" – set up earlier for refugees from Ukraine. The camp housed about a hundred Ukrainians, who were transferred to the Children's Health Centre "Krasny Desant" located in the Neklinov District. The plan to liquidate within a week all the field tent TACs of Ukrainian refugees in the Rostov Region was announced by local Governor Vasily Golubev on August 29.

Passage of Russian humanitarian convoy through checkpoints of Rostov Region and sending Georgia's humanitarian aid to Ukraine

On September 13, the second humanitarian convoy of about 200 trucks passed through the checkpoints of the Rostov Region in the direction of the self-proclaimed People's Republic of Lugansk. The delivery of the convoy with the total weight of about 2000 tons passed without incident. According to a source from the Border Guard Service of Russia in the Rostov Region, the Ukrainian party has refused to examine the contents of the convoy. In their turn, the Border and Customs Services of Ukraine reported that the convoy crossed the border in violation of the procedures, and Ukrainian border guards were not allowed to check the freight.

Adoption in first reading of abolition of direct elections of municipality heads in Dagestan

On September 10, the People's Assembly of Dagestan passed a bill "On Formation of Representative Bodies of Municipal Districts of the Republic of Dagestan and Election of Heads of Municipalities of the Republic of Dagestan". According to the proposed order, heads of municipalities will be elected by municipal and district assemblies of deputies. The opposition has criticized the bill. In the opinion of the experts polled by the "Caucasian Knot", it violates the principle of separation of powers and limits the voting rights of Dagestanis.

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