15 June 2015, 08:05
Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of June 8-14
Mass poisoning of people in the North Ossetian town of Alagir; opening of the European Games in Baku that rights defenders called to boycott; floods in Tbilisi with fatalities, see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of June 8-14, 2015, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".
More than 600 residents of Alagir got poisoned by water from local water supply system
During the last week, a mass poisoning of people took place in the North Ossetian town of Alagir. Victims were diagnosed as infected with norovirus and dysentery pathogens. According to the preliminary information, the poisoning was caused by infection, which got to the city water pipeline.
In total, on June 9-11, in the Alagir District of North Ossetia, 680 people with symptoms of poisoning sought medical assistance. A state of emergency was introduced in three communities of the Alagir District. After the case of mass poisoning, builders have started to construct in the city a facility for decontamination of water, which is to be launched on June 17.
On June 13, it became known that Arthur Barakov, the head of the Alagir District, had resigned. The Prosecutor's Office of North Ossetia carried out an inspection in the town of Alagir and revealed numerous cases of violations of the sanitary-epidemiological regulations and norms. Prosecutors demand to open criminal proceedings against officials.
Baku opens European Games, rights defenders called to boycott them
On June 12, the Azerbaijani capital of Baku opened the first European Games that include competitions in 20 sports and engage 6000 athletes from 50 countries. According to the authors, the ceremony was to show the variety of the Azerbaijani culture and the place of Azerbaijan in the modern world.
The preparation for the competitions took place against the background of the rights defenders' calls to boycott the European Games because of the situation with human rights in Azerbaijan. According to the rights defenders, there are 80 political prisoners in the country. During the last weeks before the European Games, the Azerbaijan's authorities refused to issue accreditations and visas for at least three foreign journalists from the leading European media. Journalists of the British newspaper "The Guardian" associated the ban with earlier publications on human rights issues in the country.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called to use the European Games to draw attention to human rights violations in Azerbaijan through advantages of social networks on the Internet. And the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) timed to the European Games the released of an online application depicting prisoners who took part in prison competitions. Meanwhile, Baku officials reject the criticism of the problems concerning human rights.
In Tbilisi, flood affects houses and zoo, people lost
At night of June 14, there was a heavy rain in Tbilisi. As a result, several streets, houses, and basements were flooded, and a wall of one of the buildings collapsed. The flood affected 13 persons. Some people were injured, and 24 persons were reported disappeared.
As a result of the flood, residents of several districts of the city were deprived of gas and electricity supply. Helicopters and an engineering brigade of ground forces of the Georgian army were engaged in liquidation of the aftermath of the flood.
Because of the heavy rains, the Tbilisi zoo located in a valley was completely flooded. As a result, a lot of animals ran into the streets of the city, and special forces were engaged in elimination thereof. In Georgia, the day of June 15 is declared the Day of Mourning for the dead.
In Sochi, film festival "Kinotavr" receives record number of applications for participation in main contest
Last week, Sochi hosted the 26th International Film Festival "Kinotavr". This year, a record number of applications were submitted for participation in the main contest. In total, 81 applications were submitted for the main contest, and besides, more than 300 applications were submitted for the short film contest. Among the 14 submitted films, the jury was presented films describing stories in Chechnya and Kalmykia: the film "No comment" directed by debutant Artyom Temnikov and the film "The Seagulls" directed by Ella Manzheeva from Kalmykia.
On June 10, the jury summed up the results of the short film contest "Kinotavr. Shorts". The grand prize went to the film "Nastya" directed by Kirill Pletnyov. The film describes a story that took place in the Krasnodar Territory.
Contestants spoke of the importance of the film contest for the Russian cinema. They also discussed the need for admission of Sochi residents and guests to the contest shows. At present, only persons officially accredited at the festival and guests with invitations are allowed to watch the films.
Residents of Southern Russia celebrate Day of Russia
On June 12, all southern Russian regions held celebrations in honour of the Day of Russia. During the whole day, there were a lot of concerts, exhibitions, and master classes. Residents of the South Federal District (SFD) timed to the holiday patriotic flash mobs and actions. During the festivities organized in the regions of the North-Caucasian Federal District (NCFD), people received souvenirs decorated with symbols of the holiday.
Meanwhile, according to residents of Krasnodar, the city faced massive "traffic jams", since some roads were blocked during the holiday. Local residents complained about the poor organization of parking and inspections of people' personal belongings. Some of the Krasnodar residents claimed that the money spent for the festivities could be better spent for improvement of the social situation of the city residents.
In Grozny, students and public employees claimed that their participation in the rally on the occasion of the Day of Russia was not voluntary. According to the Mayor's Office, the rally was attended by tens of thousands of people.
Vasily Golubev, head of Rostov Region stepped down into acting head
On June 8, in connection with the expiration of the term of office of Vasily Golubev, the Governor of the Rostov Region, Russian President Vladimir Putin appointed him the acting head of the Rostov Region. Vasily Golubev will be the acting head until the person elected to the post enters the office.
On June 9, deputies of the Legislative Assembly of the Rostov Region made a decision to schedule the election of the Governor of the Rostov Region for September 13.
Among the Vasily Golubev's achievements at the post of the head of the Rostov Region, experts mention the stability of the situation in the region that is bordering on Ukraine.