24 November 2014, 09:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of November 17-23

End of drafting new Russian-Abkhaz cooperation treaty; funeral in Georgia of ex-Minister of Economy Kakha Bendukidze who died in London; hunger strike of Tarki villagers in Dagestan, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of November 17-23, 2014, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Russian and Abkhaz governments approve bilateral cooperation treaty

Last week, the authorities of Russia and Abkhazia completed drafting a bilateral cooperation and strategic partnership treaty that began in August this year. On October 13, the Abkhaz party received a treaty draft prepared by the Russian party and entitled "On Cooperation and Integration" and said that it needs correction. On November 19, the Cabinet of Ministers of Abkhazia approved the draft, corrected and agreed with its ministries, and recommended President Khajimba to sign it. On November 23, the Kremlin press service reported that Khajimba would visit Russia on Vladimir Putin's invitation on November 24. It is planned to sign the treaty at their meeting in Sochi. Earlier, the Georgian Parliament adopted a statement "On Russia's Attempt to Annex Abkhazia"; and on November 22, the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) issued an appeal to the global community asking to evaluate the actions of the Russian government. The PACE officials have already treated the above treaty as a violation of the international law; and the EU has also expressed its concern.

Kakha Bendukidze, former Minister of Economy, dies in London and is buried in Georgia

On November 22, Kakha Bendukidze, the former Minister of Economy, who was found dead in one of London hotels on November 13, was buried into a cemetery in Tbilisi near the grave of his mother. After a forensic examination, the body of the author of key economic reforms in Georgia in the epoch of Mikhail Saakashvili, that is, from 2004 to 2009, when he worked in the government and then founded the Free University, was brought to his homeland. The funeral ceremony of Bendukidze took place in the building housing the Free University of Tbilisi that he founded, and the Agrarian University that he reorganized. More than two thousand people came to say farewell to Bendukidze.

Dagestan: Tarki villagers are hunger-striking to seek restoration of Tarki District

In Dagestan, since November 10, residents of Tarki villages are holding a hunger strike demanding to restore the Tarki District and include the territory of Karaman (Black Boulders), located near Makhachkala, and Mount Tarki-Tau into it. A meeting of Jamaat delegates of the above villages has announced the hunger strike to be endless; and now hunger-strikers are replacing each other. On November 20, the Mayoralty of Makhachkala hosted a meeting of Karaman activists with officials, which ended in a brawl. The conflict occurred because of a dispute of Karaman activists with the Minister of Natural Resources of Dagestan Nabiyula Karachaev, who demanded to stop the hunger strike and leave Karaman.

After the incident in the Mayoralty, two meetings of young people and activists of the villages of Tarki, Kyakhulay and Alburikent took place, during which it was decided not to give much attention to the above incident, said Gamzat Khangishiev, a Karaman public activist. It should be noted here that on November 17 in the Government of Dagestan held a meeting with participation of the members of the working group set up to address the Karaman problem, during which the Republic's Prime Minister Abdusamad Gamidov instructed his subordinates to speed up the fulfilment of the order of Dagestani leader to allocate land to residents of Tarki, Kyakhulay and Alburikent.

OSCE increases staff of observers in the Rostov Region on Russian-Ukrainian border

At its sitting on November 20 of the Council of the OSCE, which was attended by delegates from 57 countries of the world, it was decided to increase the number of observers, from 19 up to 22, on the Rostov section of the Russian-Ukrainian border. The mandate of the mission, which is working at border checkpoints in the Rostov Region since July 29, was extended till December 23, 2014. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of Ukraine, at the above sitting, Russia was the only country that did not support the extension of the observation mission with the aim to monitor the entire Ukrainian-Russian border.

Russia's SC commutes punishment to natives of Dagestan for assaulting policemen officer at Matveyev marketplace in Moscow

On November 19, the Supreme Court (SC) of the Russian Federation reduced the penalty to the Rasulov spouses, natives of Dagestan, convicted on charges of assaulting a policeman at the Matveyev marketplace in Moscow on July 27, 2013, at detention of their relative, who was later convicted for raping a schoolgirl. Khalimat Rasulova, who had been initially sentenced by the first instance court to 12.5 years in a general security colony, will have their term reduced down to 3.5 years; while her husband will stay in prison for 17 years and 10 months, instead of 18 years.

Online film festival "Web-Apricot" launched in Armenia

On November 18, Armenia gave a start to the Fourth Pan-Armenian Online Film Festival "Web-Apricot". The films should be no longer than 30 minutes. The winners of the festival will be defined by a professional jury, which should announce its judgement before March 5, 2015. The winners will be given the opportunity to make free use of professional equipment and receive money prizes. The organizers claim that the festival will promote the development of the national cinematography by enabling young film directors to make films in the absence of funds. They plan to make the festival international.

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