29 September 2014, 09:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of September 22-28

Hurricane in Southern Russia, flooding hundreds of houses of local residents and killing several people; inauguration of new President of Abkhazia; conviction of key witness in one of cases against dismissed Mayor of Makhachkala Said Amirov, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of September 22-28, 2014, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

South of Russia hit by severe hurricane

On September 24, a strong hurricane attacked Southern Russia; two Regions of the Southern Federal District (SFD) suffered the most. In the Rostov Region, 26 dwelling settlements were flooded. As a result of a rampant disaster, three persons were lost. Three towns were put under the state of emergency. Almost 25,000 residents remained without electricity. According to the Russian Ministry for Emergencies (MfE), the most difficult situation persists in the territory of the Azov District. According to the MfE, 73, and according to the Russian Ministry of Public Health, about 95 persons have addressed for medical care.

All regional heads elected on September 14 in Southern Russia take office and begin forming their Cabinets

During the last week, the regions that elected their heads on September 14 had their governors take office; and some have already begun forming their governments (cabinets of ministers).

On September 27, the city of Stavropol saw the inauguration of Vladimir Vladimirov, the head of the Stavropol Territory. The inauguration ceremony of Andrei Bocharov, the winner at the election of the head of the Volgograd Region took place in Volgograd on September 24. The day before, in Astrakhan, the members of the Astrakhan Region Duma gave their consent to appointment of Konstantin Markelov, the earlier chair of the regional cabinet of ministers for a new term – he was nominated by the Governor Alexander Zhilkin, who himself took his post on September 19. The head of the government of Kalmykia was also reaffirmed for a new term – on September 23, in Elista, the capital of Kalmykia, the Deputies of the local Hural (Parliament) supported the candidacy of the acting premier Igor Zotov, who was offered by the republic's head Alexei Orlov, who took his office on September 19.

Raul Khajimba inaugurated as new president of Abkhazia

Raul Khajimba, the winner of the August 24 early election of the head of Abkhazia, was inaugurated as the republic's president on September 25. His inauguration was more solemn and ambitious than the one of his predecessor Alexander Ankvab, said local media. The inaugurated president announced his intention to carry out a constitutional reform and make the emphasis on creation of new jobs. On September 26, Khajimba dismissed the cabinet of ministers.

Key witness in one of cases against Said Amirov, dismissed Mayor of Makhachkala, sentenced to 11 years in colony

On September 24, in Rostov-on-Don, the North-Caucasian District Military Court began considering the case of Magomed Abdulgalimov, who was assistant of the public prosecutor of Khasavyurt, and then of Kizlyar. Abdulgalimov, who was one of the key witnesses for the prosecution in the case against the dismissed Mayor of Makhachkala Said Amirov, under which on July 9 the latter was sentenced to 10 years in colony, was himself charged under seven articles of the Russian Criminal Code, including a terror act, a murder attempt, creation of an illegal armed formation (IAF) and banditry. On September 26, Abdulgalimov was sentenced to 11 years of imprisonment in a high security colony. The defendant pled guilty and concluded a pre-trial agreement with the investigation. The prosecution demanded 17 years for him.

Krasnodar ecologist Evgeny Vitishko left in colony by court

On September 24, the Krasnodar Territorial Court (KTC) rejected the presentation of the local Prosecutor's Office to change the punishment term of Evgeny Vitishko, an activist of the "Ecological Watch for Northern Caucasus", accused of and sentenced for damaging the fence around the area known as the "summer cottage" of Alexander Tkachov, the Governor of the Krasnodar Territory. The KTC has ruled that Vitishko should stay in colony. His defence decided to appeal against the ruling at the Russian Supreme Court. In the opinion of Sergey Mitrokhin, the chairman of the "Yabloko" Party, Evgenia Chirikova, the leader of the movement "In Defence of Khimki Forest", and Mikhail Savva, the director of grant programmes of the Southern Regional Resource Centre, the ruling of the KTC is politically motivated.

Yerevan hosted International Festival "Literary Ark-2014"

On September 27, the capital of Armenia terminated the 5th International Festival "Literary Ark-2014", which was attended by about 40 writers, poets and translators from 11 countries, including France, Italy, Croatia, Russia, Poland, Great Britain and Denmark. According to David Matevosyan, the coordinator of the festival and the executive director of the "Grant Matevosyan Foundation", the mission of the project is to integrate the literary community of Armenia into the international community and acquaint foreign writers with Armenia.

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