06 July 2015, 09:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of June 29-July 5

New ultimatum put forward by protesters against increase of electricity tariff to Armenian authorities; ECtHR's decision on acceptability of complaint of Beslan terror act victims; sentencing of Stavropol rights defender Bogatenkova, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of June 29-July 5, 2015, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

New ultimatum to Armenia authorities from protesters against increase of electricity tariff

On July 1, Armenia stopped its mass protests against the authorities' decision to raise the electricity tariff, which lasted since June 19, except for the round-the-clock sit-in strike in Bagramyan Avenue in Yerevan. On July 4, protesters put forward a new ultimatum to the authorities. They gave time to the government until July 6 to fulfil their demands, namely, to cancel the decision to increase the tariff and punish the policemen, who used violence to disperse demonstrators on June 23. In case of non-fulfilment of the ultimatum, protesters promised to start moving – by one step a day – their barricade made of garbage bins towards the presidential residence. The police warned Yerevan protesters that such actions are inadmissible. This is the third ultimatum moved forward by protesters. It should be noted here that on July 1 the General Public Prosecutor of Armenia Gevorg Kostanyan said that the legitimacy of the police's actions on June 23 in Yerevan would be checked by the Special Investigation Service. And on July 3, this Service stated the unlawful use of force against protesters and institution of a criminal case in this connection.

ECtHR finds violations of the right to life of victims of the terror act in Beslan

On July 2, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) issued a decision on the case "Tagaeva at al versus Russia", which brings together seven complaints of 447 victims of the school hostage-taking terror act in the North-Ossetian town of Beslan committed in 2004. The court found acceptable and took for consideration the complaint of most of the applicants, stating violations of Articles 2 (right to life) and 13 (right to an effective remedy) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Relatives of the casualties of the terror act appealed to the ECtHR back in 2007, alleging the insufficiency of measures taken to prevent the terror act and the indiscriminate use of weapons during the operation aimed to free the hostages. Representatives of the Committee named "Mothers of Beslan" stated that an agreement is possible with Russian authorities, should the latter conduct an impartial and objective investigation into the terror act.

Chechen MPs elect new Speaker

On July 3, at their extraordinary session, the Members of the Chechen Parliament elected their new Speaker – Magomed Daudov, the former head of the administration of the head and the government of the Chechen Republic. The election of a new Speaker took place after the death on June 29 of Dukuvakha Abdurakhmanov, who had been the Speaker for 10 years. On the day of death, Abdurakhmanov was buried in his native village of Djalka, where the main mourning ceremonies were held. In the opinion of political analyst Alexander Kanev and journalist Orkhan Djemal, the election of Daudov to the post of the Speaker of the Chechen Parliament is a step up in his career. This step is aimed at further consolidation of power in Chechnya around Ramzan Kadyrov, said Alexei Malashenko, a member of the Scientific Council of the Moscow Carnegie Centre.

Krasnodar "ENO" Bank with Dagestani roots deprived of license

On July 3, the Bank of Russia revoked a license to conduct banking operations from the Joint-Stock Commercial "ENO" Bank, registered in Krasnodar. According to the Bank of Russia, the "ENO" Bank placed funds into low-quality assets, failed to create reserves against possible loan losses, and failed with certain requirements of the legislation. The "ENO" Bank is a regional bank with small assets, which specialized in servicing small and medium corporate clients. It is noteworthy that it was created and controlled until recently by natives from Dagestan, where this year two banks have already been deprived of their licenses.

Stavropol rights defender Bogatenkova acquitted on one charge

On July 1, the City Court of Budyonnovsk acquitted Lyudmila Bogatenkova, the head of the Committee of Soldiers' Mothers named "Prikumye Mothers", on one of the episodes of the fraud case opened against her, namely, that she had allegedly refused to repay 100,000 roubles of debt to citizen Kharebina. Under the other episode, which was based on the assertion of a certain Dubrovin, a Bogatenkova's client, that she had led him astray and stole a fee for providing legal services, the court re-qualified the charge and applied the amnesty act. Bogatenkova now has the right to seek rehabilitation, said her advocate Vitaly Zubenko, who noted that the prosecution of his client was preceded by an investigation into the deaths of Russian soldiers at war in Ukraine. The prosecutor demanded to sentence her to of 2.5 years of conditional imprisonment. In the opinion of Sergey Krivenko, a member of the Presidential Council for Human Rights and Development of Civil Society, the persecution of Bogatenkova was an act of revenge for her human rights activities.

Fighter crashes in Krasnodar Territory during training flight

On July 3, in the vicinity of Aerodrome Kuschevskaya in the Krasnodar Territory, during a routine training flight, a MiG-29 fighter crashed down. The aircraft fell down in an uninhabited area and caused no damage to the surface. The pilot – Major-General Alexander Berzan, the Chief of Aviation Safety of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation – ejected and was not injured. The Chief Headquarters of the Air Forces did not rule out that the accident could be caused by a bird getting into the engine.

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