19 January 2015, 09:00
Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of January 12-18
Massacre in Gyumri that sparked protests among the population of Armenia; mass rallies in Ingushetia stating inadmissibility of caricatures insulting religious feelings; conviction of Kislovodsk Imam Kurman-Ali Baichorov in Stavropol Territory, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of January 12-18, 2015, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".
Massacre in Armenian city of Gyumri, of committing which Russian soldier is suspected
At night of January 12, in the Armenian city of Gyumri, six members of the Avetisyan family were killed; only a six-month-old baby survived. The baby is in grave condition. A Russian regular soldier Valery Permyakov, who is accused of the mass murder, is arrested and kept in the territory of the 102nd Russian military base. According to the General Prosecutor's Office (GPO) of Armenia, Permyakov has confessed of committing the murder.
The massacre triggered a wave of protests in Armenia. On January 15, after the funeral of the members of the Avetisyan family, a protest action in Gyumri turned into clashes with the police, in which 24 people suffered. The main protesters' demand was to have Permyakov tried in Armenia. However, an official of the GPO stated that Permyakov would not be given out to Armenian law enforcement bodies, since he is a citizen of Russia. Later, however, Gevorg Kostanyan, the General Public Prosecutor of Armenia, stated his intention to demand Permyakov's extradition from Russia.
Residents of Ingushetia hold rallies to state inadmissibility of caricatures that offend religious feelings
On January 17, Ingushetia hosted two mass rallies, where participants expressed their protest against the publication of caricatures on Prophet Muhammad. The rallies were a reaction to the events in Paris, where on January 7, 12 people were killed in an armed attack on the editorial office of the satirical magazine "Charlie Ebdo". The edition that sticks to leftish and secular positions several times published caricatures on Islam and Prophet Muhammad. Actions in memory of the casualties were held in many countries around the world, where the participants stated that the terror act was directed against the freedom of speech. The rally "Islam against terrorism" held in Magas under the initiative of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims (SAM) of Ingushetia was attended by over 20,000 people.
Kislovodsk Imam Kurman-Ali Baichorov convicted of drug dealing
On January 13, the Predgorny District Court of the Stavropol Territory sentenced Kurman-Ali Baichorov, the Imam of Kislovodsk, to 3.5 years in a general security colony on charges of drug dealing. According to investigators, on October 17, 2013, GIBDD (traffic police) inspectors stopped Baichorov's car and found a pack of drug during the inspection. Imam states that on that day he was kidnapped; and the drugs were planted into the car. His supporters are treating the accusation as a provocation and associate it with Baichorov's resolute position about mosques in Kislovodsk, where the authorities had banned the building thereof. The Imam's defence has submitted a complaint against the verdict to in the Stavropol Territorial Court.
Convicts in Nalchik attack case appeal against verdict
It became known that 53 out of 57 convicts in the case about the attack on Nalchik in October 2005 filed an appeal against the sentence to them, passed on December 23, 2014, by the Supreme Court of the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic (KBR). The appellants include all the five figurants, sentenced to life imprisonment. According to advocates, only four defendants decided not to file complaints. After announcement of the verdict, some lawyers treated it as too harsh, while rights defenders noted that there are people among the figurants, whose involvement in the attack is questionable.
Azerbaijani government increase gasoline prices; then, reverse the decision under president's demand
On January 12, the Tariff Council under the Government of Azerbaijan decided to increase, starting from January 13, the retail prices for gasoline and diesel fuel by 0.02 manats (0.025 US dollars) per litre, as well as wholesale prices for liquid gas; however, on January 14, this decision was cancelled. Initially, the increase in prices was explained by a change in the procedure of collecting the road tax. Local experts noted that the increase in gasoline prices may be followed by a rising cost of public transport, as well as in other sectors of the economy, which would adversely affect the incomes and contribute to the growth of social tension.
Authorities of Volgograd Region plan to revive drilling equipment factory and OJSC "Khimprom"
Last week, the authorities of the Volgograd Region announced their plans to revive two major enterprises of the region. On January 14, the press service of the regional administration reported that in the near future the idling Volgograd Drilling Equipment Factory may receive a large order. According to Governor Andrei Bocharov, a preliminary agreement was reached on business partnership with the Company "Tatneft"; and in case of successful work under the first contract, the factory may hope for the orders worth up to 4 billion roubles. The second news concerns the bankrupt Open Joint-Stock Company (OJSC) "Khimprom", where the regional authorities plan to launch at least four profitable transfer lines, which will save up to a half of the 4500 available workplaces.