27 April 2015, 09:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of April 20-26

Events in Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh and other countries dated to centenary of Armenian Genocide; conviction of rights defender Intigam Aliev in Azerbaijan; death of leader of "Imarat Kavkaz" Aliaskhab Kebekov in Dagestan, –see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of April 20-26, 2015, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Residents of Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh and the Armenian Diasporas abroad mark the centenary of Armenian Genocide

On April 24, residents of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, and members of Armenian Diasporas abroad have marked the Remembrance Day of the Victims of Genocide in the Ottoman Empire in 1915-1923. The year 2015 marked 100 years since the beginning of these events. The commemorative events included a torchlight procession in Yerevan and cities of Nagorno-Karabakh on April 24, a two-day-long laying of flowers at the Tsetsernakaberd Memorial in Yerevan, and the ceremony of canonization of 1.5 million victims of the genocide on April 23 in the Echmiadzin Cathedral in the Armenian city of Vagarshapat. The official part of the events was attended by delegations from 60 countries, as well as presidents of Cyprus, Serbia, France and Russia.

The Remembrance Day of Victims of Armenian Genocide was marked in Russia. In Rostov-on-Don, the Armenian community held a funeral procession. Memorial services were held in Armenian churches of the Krasnodar Territory. A meeting dedicated to the centennial anniversary of the genocide was held in Moscow. Also, the Russian capital opened a monument to the victims of the genocide and a museum.

Azerbaijani court convicts right defender Intigam Aliev

On April 22, a court in Baku issued a verdict to Intigam Aliev, the head of the organization "Society of Legal Enlightenment" (SLE). The rights defender was found guilty of tax evasion, illegal entrepreneurship, a large-scale misappropriation or embezzlement, and sentenced to 7.5 years of imprisonment with serving his sentence in a general-security colony. The sentencing of Aliev was condemned by international human rights organizations, which called on the country's authorities to immediately release him. Concerns about Aliev's convictions were expressed by the US State Department and the British Foreign Office.

Governor of Krasnodar Territory Tkachov transferred to Russia's Ministry of Agriculture

On April 22, Alexander Tkachov, the Governor of the Krasnodar Territory resigned, and on the same day he was appointed to the post of the Minister of Agriculture of Russia, in order, according to the official version, to strengthen the ministry. Veniamin Kondratiev, who had worked from 2014 to April 2015 in various positions in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation, and before that – in the government of the Krasnodar Territory, was appointed the Acting Governor. The experts polled by the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent have treated the Tkachov's transfer to the post of the Russia's Minister of Agriculture as a decrease in the status of the politician. After the announcement of Tkachov's resignation experts said that Kondratiev is a man from his retinue and expressed the opinion that he is likely to become the governor of the territory after the upcoming September elections.

MRC sentences two defendants in BORN case to life imprisonment

On April 21, the Moscow Regional Court (MRC) announced the verdict in the case of the "Combat Organization of Russian Nationalists" (known as BORN), under which four defendants were accused of involvement in a number of high-profile crimes committed in 2008-2010 in Moscow, including the murders of Judge Eduard Chuvashov, lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova, world champion in Thai boxing Muslim Abdullaev, antifascists Fyodor Filatov, Ivan Khutorskoy and Ilya Djaparidze, as well as of Rasul Khalilov, a figurants of the trial of the "Black Hawks", and a taxi driver Sosa Khachikyan. Maxim Baklagin, Vyacheslav Isaev and Mikhail Volkov were found guilty of all the charges against them. Baklagin and Isaev were sentenced to life imprisonment; and Volkov was sentenced to 24 years in a high security colony. Yuri Tikhomirov, who had been earlier sentenced to 10 years of high security colony for killing Ilya Djaparidze, was acquitted by the court in the BORN case. The advocates of Baklagin, Isaev and Volkov have treated the sentence as too harsh and said that they would file a complaint against it.

Leader of "Imarat Kavkaz" Aliaskhab Kebekov killed in Dagestan

Last week, Russian power agents announced the death, during a special operation in Dagestan, of Aliaskhab Kebekov, the leader of "Imarat Kavkaz", which was recognized to be a terrorist grouping. The special operation was launched on April 19 in the Buynaksk settlement of Gerey-Awlak, where power agents blocked a house with suspected militants inside, and killed five people during a shootout. Also, power agents announced the death in the special operation of Shamil Gasanov, the Amir of the militants of the Untsukul District of Dagestan, and Omar Magomedov, the leader of the so-called "central sector" of militants in Dagestan. The two women, who were in the house, were also killed. According to one of the websites that support the armed underground of Northern Caucasus, they were wives of Kebekov and Gasanov.

Head of South-Ossetian MFA transferred to president of state adviser

On April 22, Leonid Tibilov, President of South Ossetian, dismissed David Sanakoev, the head of the Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA). The resignation was preceded by the imposition on March 13 by the South Ossetian parliament of the vote of no-confidence to the Foreign Minister for the fact that he had published in the media the draft agreement on cooperation and integration with Russia. The above Sanakoev's action "had caused a public split within the country," said the parliament speaker Anatoly Bibilov. Local and Russian experts stick to the opinion that the resignation is not related to the vote of no-confidence to Sanakoev, announced by the parliament, and noted that this cadre decision would not add any political dividends to the speaker Bibilov.

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