21 September 2015, 09:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of September 14-20

Results of the elections held on the single voting day in the regions of Southern Russia; verdict of guilty to former Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava; celebration of the 2000th anniversary of Derbent; scandalous ICA Congress in Nalchik; hunger strike demanding payment of wages in Akhtubinsk; suspicion of abuse of power against the GIBDD Department Chief of the Rostov Region, ­ see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of September 14-20, 2015, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Southern Russia sums up results of elections held on single day of voting

Last week, the results of the elections held on September 13, on the single day of voting, were summed up. In the morning of September 14, the Election Commission of the Rostov Region announced the victory of Vasily Golubev, who gained 78.2% of votes at the election of the Governor of the Rostov Region. On the same day, the Election Commission of the Krasnodar Territory announced the outcome of the election of the Governor of the Krasnodar Territory and reported the victory of Veniamin Kondratiev, who gained 83.65% of votes. Gennady Zyuganov, the leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF), has announced his intention to challenge the results of the election of the Governor in the Rostov Region. The Communists voiced the largest numbers of claims concerning the voting at the electoral precinct No. 1823 in Rostov-on-Don, where ballot stuffing was prevented.

Besides, the Communists also expressed their dissatisfaction with the re-election of deputy of the regional Duma in the Volgograd Region and the additional elections of the deputies to the Volgograd City Duma, where, according to the election commission, members of the "Edinaya Rossiya" (United Russia) Party had won. During the past week, members of the CPRF held three protest actions. In Sochi, the voting at the elections of deputies to the City Assembly also failed to avoid scandal: those elections were also won by members of the "Edinaya Rossiya" Party; however, members of the CPRF, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), the "Rodina", and the "Yabloko" Parties signed the resolution recognizing the election outcome as null and void, since "it failed to reflect the true will of the citizens" and promised to report on violations committed during the voting to the investigating authorities and the General Prosecutor's Office.

Members of the "Edinaya Rossiya" Party also won the elections in other regions of southern Russia, including Ingushetia, Chechnya, Karachay-Cherkessia, Astrakhan, and the Stavropol Territory. However, in a number of Dagestani districts, members the "Edinaya Rossiya" Party were unable to win. So, at the elections of deputies to the Buynaksk City Assembly, candidates of the "Edinaya Rossiya" Party gained only 18.57% of the votes, and the "Party of Veterans of Russia" won the elections by gaining 68.8% of the votes. In Kizlyar, at the elections of deputies to the City Assembly, members of the "Edinaya Rossiya" Party gained 37.42% of the votes, while the "Rodina" Party gained 13.73% of the votes, the "Party of Village Revival" ­ 13.74%, and the "Labour Party of Russia", the CPRF, the "Spravedlivaya Rossiya" (Fair Russia) Party, and the "Patriots of Russia" Party gained 8.99%, 8.39%, and 6.92%, respectively.

In Georgia, former Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava found guilty

Late in the evening of September 18, the court of Tbilisi has pronounced a verdict of guilty to Gigi Ugulava, the former Tbilisi Mayor, and sentenced him to 9 years of imprisonment in the case of the direction of the funds from the enterprise "Tbilservice" to the election campaign of the "United National Movement" (UNM) Party in 2012. The pronounced sentence has been reduced under the current amnesty in Georgia, and the court has also taken into account the period of time that Gigi Ugulava had already spent in detention. Thus, in accordance with the verdict, the former Mayor of Tbilisi is to spend in prison three years and three months. Supporters of Gigi Ugulava have already called the verdict illegal.

Prior to the verdict, Gigi Ugulava spent almost a day at liberty, since on September 17, the Tbilisi City Court pronounced the decision to release him on the basis of the decision of the Constitutional Court stating that no one could be detained for more than nine months without a verdict of guilty. This decision was supported by members of the Georgian Advocates' Chamber and Georgian Ombudsman Ucha Nanuashvili. Meanwhile, it should be noted that Gigi Ugulava is still involved in another trial - in the case of his involvement in the sale of the "Imedi" TV Company assets and the purchase of Rike Park by the city.

Derbent celebrates 2000th anniversary

On September 19, the Dagestani city of Derbent celebrated its 2000th anniversary, and the festive events were held at various venues in the city under enhanced security measures. The programme of the Derbent anniversary celebration included eight major events, including the "Tradition", a festival of national cultures of the peoples of Dagestan. Within the framework of the festival, 13 farmsteads of the Dagestani regions and 16 other subjects of the Russian Federation were presented, and exhibitions and master classes in folk crafts were also held. Besides, the city also held a historical reconstruction of the medieval life of the city and the life of its residents. In the evening, the main anniversary show "2000 years in two hours" was held in the territory of Naryn-Kala fortress. The preparation for the show involved show directors from Moscow, and residents and guests of Derbent could watch the show by invitations only. Meanwhile, according to city residents and other participants of the events, a lot of people came to the venues of the festivities, and long lines were formed in Freedom Square, which hosted the "Tradition" festival. Guests of the festivities complained about problems with the movement in the city centre and work of catering points and shops.

The preparation for the celebration took several months. Meanwhile, citizens and experts have repeatedly questioned the quality of the restoration works, and Sergey Melikov, the presidential envoy to the North-Caucasian Federal District (NCFD) stated that the local authorities were not ready to efficiently spend the money allocated for the preparation for the city's anniversary. Residents of Derbent have repeatedly criticized the quality of the preparation for the city's anniversary.

Nalchik hosts ICA Congress; Adyge Khase of Karachay-Cherkessia and Adygea left ICA

On September 19, the 10th Congress of the International Circassian Association (ICA) was held in Nalchik. The Congress was attended by 77 delegates from countries of compact residence of Adyg people, including Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Israel, countries of Europe, and subjects of the Russian Federation, such as the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic (KBR), the Karachay-Cherkessian Republic (KChR), and the Republic of Adygea. At the ICA Congress, Khauti Sokhrokov was re-elected the President of the ICA. Out of 73 delegates, 62 gave their votes to Khauti Sokhrokov, 10 delegates voted against him, and one delegate abstained. In the course of the Congress, Khauti Sokhrokov declared support of compatriots from Syria and creation of single Circassian literary language as the prior objects of the ICA. The number of those who voted against Khauti Sokhrokov and refused to approve the activities of the ICA led by him included members of the delegations from Adygea and Karachay-Cherkessia.

On the eve of the ICA Congress, the FSB Department for the Krasnodar Territory summoned for questioning Adam Bogus, Vice-President of the ICA and Chairman of Adyge Khase of the Republic of Adygea. Adam Bogus himself associates the investigators' actions with the ICA Congress and believes that the investigators did not want him to take part in the Congress. According to Adam Bogus, the Adyge Khase of Karachay-Cherkessia and Adygeya left the ICA, and he himself decided to quit the post of the Vice-President of the ICA. It should be noted that on the eve of the Congress, Circassian public figures interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent stated that in case of re-election of Khauti Sokhrokov to the post of the leader, the ICA could cease to exist in the current format.

In Astrakhan Region, workers start hunger strike demanding to pay their wages

On September 19, workers of the municipal enterprise "Akhtuba ATP" (auto transport company), who did not receive their wages for more than a year and who were also deprived of their dismissal compensation, started a hunger strike at the public reception room of a deputy of the Duma of the Astrakhan Region. Initially, there were five hunger-strikers, and then their number increased up to seven persons. According to the protestors, as of May 31, the wage arrears of the company amounted to 5.2 million roubles. At present, the amount is much higher. In the room where the protest action takes place, the hunger-strikers placed the poster reading: "Governor and Mayor, return us our money." On September 20, Sergey Svidovsky, Deputy Prosecutor of the Akhtubinsk District, met the hunger-strikers and recorded their demands. In his turn, Amanga Naruzbaev, Mayor of Akhtubinsk, has recognized as fair the demands voiced by the protestors and admitted that the budget is short of funds to pay off debts. The official of the Prosecutor's Office has informed the protesters about the scheduled auction for the sale of the company's assets, which is expected to provide finds for payment of wage arrears, and offered to stop the protest action. The hunger-strikers have declined the proposal.

In Rostov-on-Don, Chief of Regional GIBDD Department involved in case of abuse of power

Sergey Morgachev, Chief of the GIBDD (road police) Department for the Rostov Region, has become involved in the criminal case on the facts of violations committed during the construction of the GIBDD building. On September 17, the Prosecutor's Office for the Rostov Region reported that the criminal case was initiated under Part 1 of Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (abuse of power) after the check of the video on the Internet under the title "Revelation of a GIBDD staff member". It should be noted that Sergey Morgachev himself is involved as a victim in the trial, which takes place in Rostov-on-Don. The prisoners' dock contains Alexander Otsimik, the former deputy of Sergey Morgachev, and Shaikhav Gadjiev, a resident of Astrakhan, charged with organizing an attack on the Chief of the GIBDD Department. On September 18, the Voroshilov District Court of Rostov-on-Don held a preliminary hearing in the case, left the defendants in custody and granted the motion to consider the case behind closed doors.

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