11 May 2015, 09:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of May 4-10

Victory Day celebrations in Southern Russia; announcement of results of parliamentary elections in NKR; conviction of Karabakh serviceman and update the list of political prisoners in Azerbaijan, –see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of May 4-10, 2015, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Victory Day in Southern Russia marked with parades and "Immortal Regiment" actions

On May 9, residents of the southern regions of Russia celebrated the Victory Day in the Great Patriotic War with various events, the most scaled of them being parades and the action "Immortal Regiment", where people went out to festive processions with photos of their relatives who took part in the war.

In Ingushetia, during the parade in the republic's capital Magas for the first time, a column of armoured vehicles marched before residents and guests of the city. In Vladikavkaz, the parade participants and spectators applauded to the presidential envoy Sergey Melikov, head of North Ossetia Teimuraz Mamsurov and commander of the 58th Army Lieutenant General Alexei Gurulyov, while the banner-bearer of the column was Israfil Makeev, a participant of the Stalingrad Battle. In Cherkessk, the parade participants received triangular envelopes with letters-appeals from the war veterans dropped from airplanes, while students carried the "Saint George ribbon" 70 meters long. In Makhachkala, on May 7, within the framework of celebrations, an action "Parade of Victory Heirs", which was attended by over 9000 people. In Nalchik, on May 9, the parade "Immortal Regiment" attended by at least 5000 people. The military parade on May 9 in Grozny ended with a flight of four fighter-bombers and four military helicopters, one of which carried a huge banner of Russia. At the same time, city residents said that they could only observe the movement of military vehicles along Putin Avenue, since people were not allowed farther than the House of Press, located a few hundred meters from the venue of the parade. The victory parade in Volgograd on May 9 was held in Fallen Warriors' Square and watched by over 22,000 people; while about 16,000 people went out with portraits of their relatives-participants of the Great Patriotic War to the action "Immortal Regiment". On the eve of the Victory Day, the coordinators of the "Immortal Regiment" emphasized a high interest to the action in the regions of Southern Russia.

Five parties get to NKR's parliament

On May 4, the Central Election Commission (CEC) of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) announced preliminary results of the parliamentary elections, which took place on May 3. According to the CEC, the "Free Homeland" Party won 47.35% of the votes, the "Democratic Party of Artsakh" – 19.1%, the "Dashnaktsutyun" – 18.81%. According to the CEC, the 5-percent threshold was conquered by the oppositional parties – the "Movement-88" with 6.93% of votes, and the "National Renaissance" with 5.38%. The election outcomes in the NKR were recognized by all the parties, including those, which did not get to the parliament. The official Baku has stated that the elections in the NKR had no legal force and made a violation of the Azerbaijani Constitution and norms and principles of the international law. Earlier, the non-recognition of the elections was declared by the EU, the USA, and Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Georgia and Ukraine.

In Georgia, MPs declare vote of confidence to renovated Government

On May 8, an extraordinary session of the Georgian Parliament supported the membership of the government renewed by Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili and submitted for approval to the Parliament by President Georgi Margvelashvili. The need to consider the staff of the government by the Parliament arose after the voluntary resignations of Elguja Khokrishvili, the Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources, and Levan Kipiani, the Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs, on April 28 and 29, the Cabinet of Ministers appeared renewed by more than one-third. The opposition – the United National Movement (UNM) and the "Free Democrats" – refused to support the new Cabinet, saying that its economic team, which had led the country "to the standstill", remained unchanged.

Karabakh soldier sentenced to 15 years in prison in Azerbaijan

On May 5, the Ganja Court of Grave Crimes of Azerbaijan sentenced the serviceman Arsen Bagdasaryan, detained on December 27, 2014, on the contact line with Nagorno-Karabakh and accused of attempting to commit acts of sabotage, an attempted murder and participation in a criminal organization, to 15 years in prison. The prosecutor demanded 18 years in prison for him; however, the defendant, according to Azerbaijani mass media, pled guilty and asked the court about the minimum penalty. The case against Bagdasaryan was fabricated in retaliation for the trial in Stepanakert of citizens of Azerbaijan Dilkham Askerov and Shakhbaz Guliev, accused of illegal crossing the border, espionage, possession of ammunition, theft, murder of a teenager and an officer of the Armenian Army, said Yuri Airapetyan, the Ombudsman of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Azerbaijani rights defenders update list of political prisoners

On May 8, the working group for drafting a unified list of political prisoners in Azerbaijan presented a document, which listed the names of 80 "prisoners of conscience" currently imprisoned, and called on the authorities to release these people. The new list was formed by excluding from the document, presented in August 2014, which featured 98 people, of the 26 persons, released from prison under pardoning decisions of President of Azerbaijan, or because of completion of their terms, as well as by adding 8 new names. These new names include the journalists Seymour Ghazi and Khadija Ismayilova, a few members of the oppositional Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan (PFPA), and human rights activist Talekh Khasmamedov.

Stavropol court stated need for new investigation into road accident with MP Kalugin

Last week, in the Stavropol Territory, it became known about the decision of the territorial court on the complaint of the prosecutor's office on the illegitimating of its resolution about the need for an additional investigation into the case of Valery Kalugin, an MP of the Territorial Duma, an actor of the road accident on the Highway "Kavkaz" on November 22, 2012, during which local resident was lost. Investigators stopped the case for three times, finding no crime attributes in Kalugin's actions. Each time, the prosecutor's office challenged the investigators' decisions; and now, they will have to conduct investigative actions for the fourth time. Kalugin himself states that he did not violate the traffic rules, and left the scene of the accident, thinking that he had knocked down a dog.

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