02 March 2015, 09:15

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of February 23 to March 1

Commemoration of assassinated Russian politician Boris Nemtsov in regions of Southern Russia; events dedicated to the 71st anniversary of deportation of Vainakhs; protest rally in Yerevan on anniversary of events on March 1, 2008, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of February 23-March 1, 2015, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Regions of Southern Russia hold actions related to murder of Boris Nemtsov

Boris Nemtsov, a native of Sochi, one of the most prominent oppositional politicians in Russia, a Co-Chairman of the Republican Party of Russia "PARNAS", a member of the "Solidarity" Movement and of the Coordinating Council of the Russian Opposition, was shot dead in Moscow on February 27. The murder could be caused by his position with respect to the execution of the staff of the Charlie Hebdo magazine, the Investigating Committee of the Russian Federation (ICRF) has suggested. However, the Russian experts, interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot", treat this version as unlikely.

On March 1, several cities of Southern Russia hosted rallies in memory of Nemtsov. In Astrakhan, within the framework of the All-Russian Campaign "Vesna" (Spring) a picket was held. In Rostov-on-Don, at least one hundred people came to the "Vesna" march with photos of Nemtsov. Residents and guests of Sochi commemorated the politician by bringing flowers and candles to the city monument to victims of political repressions, and offered to erect a monument to Nemtsov.

Two solo pickets in memory of murdered politician were held in central Volgograd, where the women-picketers said later that unidentified persons had torn down their posters.

A minute of silence in memory of Nemtsov was held by the participants of the roundtable, held in Moscow on February 28 at the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial" and dedicated to Natalia Estemirova, whose birthday was on that day.

The Nemtsov's assassination was condemned by Azerbaijani oppositionists; and in Yerevan, residents brought flowers to the Russian Embassy in memory of the politician.

Chechens and Ingushes commemorate victims of 1944 Stalin's deportation

On February 23, actions to mark the 71st anniversary of the deportation of Chechens and Ingushes to Kazakhstan and Central Asia were held in Moscow and Ingushetia. The memorial party at the State Museum of GULAG History in Moscow presented the archival documents, reflecting the life of deportees in special settlements, and screened a documentary about the deportation.

In Ingushetia, an official ceremony dedicated to the Day of Fatherland Defender and the deportation of the Ingush nation was held at the Memorial of Memory and Glory in Nazran. The neighbouring Chechnya officially marked only the all-Russian holiday.

Ruslan Kutaev, the head of the Assembly of North-Caucasian Nations, who organized a year ago in Grozny a scientific conference "Deportation of Chechen people. What was it; and is it possible to forget it?", welcomed the 71st anniversary of deportation of the Vainakh people in Chernokozovo colony. At the above conference, Kutaev criticized the decision of the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, who had banned any commemorative events on February 23.

In Armenia, protest rally marks anniversary of events on March 1, 2008

On March 1, Freedom Square in Yerevan was the venue of the rally, dedicated to the seventh anniversary of the tragic events of 2008. Then, a protest action against the outcomes of the presidential election turned into a confrontation with the police, where 10 persons perished and more than 260 others were injured. The event on March 1 was attended by about 10,000 people, said the organizers – activists of the Armenian National Congress (ANC), whose leader Levon Ter-Petrosyan stated the need to declare – at the national level – March 1 as Remembrance Day of Casualties for Freedom.

Georgia holds protests demanding Govt's resignation

Last week, Tbilisi hosted several protest actions demanding the resignation of the government in the context of the economic crisis. On February 25, the action was held by activists of non-governmental organizations, including the NGOs "Free Zone" and "Fair Generation". On February 26, a rally was held by the oppositional parties "Free Georgia", "Christian-Democratic Movement" and the Reformers' Party. The actions were held after a sharp fall of the Georgian currency: on February 19m the exchange rate was 2.0839 laris per 1 US dollar, while on February 25, the National Bank of Georgia set the rate at 2.26 laris.

On February 23, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said that the situation after the fall of the lari was controlled by the authorities; and there was no reason for panic.

At least seven perish in CTO in Dagestan

On February 25, in the Kizilyurt District of Dagestan, power agents found a dugout, where militants were hiding. Four villages of the district were put under the counterterrorist operation (CTO) regime. On February 27, the Russian National Antiterrorist Committee (NAC) said that six militants and one power agent were killed in the CTO. All the killed militants were members of the so-called "Kizilyurt" grouping. One of them was pre-identified as Oleg Shalyapin, a native of Makhachkala, who had been wanted on suspicion of attempts on lives of law enforcers.

Residents of the Kizilyurt District said that the highway connecting the above six villages with the district centre was blocked because of the CTO, which created inconveniences for people.

Stavropol: verdict to Bestuzhy, former City Manager, confirmed; Minister Lyamin arrested

On February 26, the Stavropol Territorial Court rejected the appeal against the verdict to Igor Bestuzhy, the former head of the administration of Stavropol, who was sentenced on July 24, 2014, to 9 years in colony and a fine of 500 million roubles on charges of bribery.

On February 26, it became known that Lyamin was removed from office.

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