05 October 2015, 09:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of September 28-October 4

Decision on the sale of CJSC "Electric Grids of Armenia"; termination of the hunger strike of employees of the "Akhtuba ATP"; inauguration of the Governor of the Rostov Region and election of the Mayor of Rostov-on-Don; verdict of guilty against the Ukrainian citizen in the case of the killings of soldiers in Chechnya in the mid-1990s; election of deputies of the City Council and Mayor of Mineralnye Vody; rally in support of Syrian Circassians in Maikop and Nalchik, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of September 28-October 4, 2015, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Yerevan decides to sell CJSC "Electric Grids of Armenia"

On September 30, the group of companies "Tashir", affiliated with "Liormand Holdings Limited", a company registered in Cyprus, announced the purchase of 100% shares of the Closed Joint-Stock Company (CJSC) "Electric Grids of Armenia". At the meeting in Yerevan held on October 1, the Commission on Regulation of Public Services (CRPS) approved the transaction, the amount of which was not announced. The group of companies "Tashir" fully accepts the obligations for the management of the CJSC "Electric Grids of Armenia", and the plans for further development include introduction of the anti-crisis programme to optimize the financial performance of the company and gain control over financial and economic activities of the CJSC "Electric Grids of Armenia". Besides, the development plans also imply the gradual modernization of the equipment of distribution networks. This was stated by Samvel Karapetyan, the owner of the "Tashir".

The experts, interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot", have expressed different opinions about whether the CJSC "Electric Grids of Armenia" was sold as a result of the protests against the increase of energy tariffs, or the preparation for the sale caused the protests.

In Akhtubinsk, employees of local ATP stop their hunger strike with demand of payment of wage arrears

On October 3, after the citywide rally and meeting, the employees of the "Akhtuba ATP", a local auto transport company, who on September 19 declared a hunger strike with the demand to pay the wages arrears and other benefits, stopped their protest action. The protesters have put forward the demands to prevent the bankruptcy of the enterprise and create the conditions for its full operation till January 1, 2016. The protestors have announced that in case their demands are not met, they will continue the hunger strike. According to the spokesman of the bailiff service, on October 2, the amount of 190,000 roubles was transferred to the accounts of the employees of the "Akhtuba ATP". In his turn, Akhtubinsk Mayor Amanga Naruzbaev has stated that the administration of Akhtubinsk is not able to get the information whether the payments meet the actual debts. According to Alexander Kamanin, a deputy of the Duma of the Astrakhan Region, who on September 30 joined the hunger strike together with another deputy, the city authorities actually started acting only after the people had declared the hunger strike.

In Rostov-on-Don, Governor takes office, and City Mayor is elected

On September 29, Rostov-on-Don held the inauguration of Regional Governor Vasily Golubev, who won the elections held on September 13. The Governor of the Rostov Region has officially taken office in the presence of federal officials and regional businessmen. On September 28, deputies of the Duma of Rostov-on-Don of the sixth convocation, elected on September 13, gathered for the first meeting, in the course of which they elected Zinaida Neyarokhina the Chair of the City Duma. She has been irremovably chairing the City Duma since its creation, for more than two decades.

Chechen court sentences Ukrainian citizen in case of killings of soldiers in mid-1990s

On September 29, the Shatoi District Court of Chechnya pronounced the verdict against Alexander Malofeev, a citizen of Ukraine, who was accused of involvement in the organization "UNA-UNSO", recognized as extremist in Russia. According to investigators, being a member of the "UNA-UNSO", Alexander Malofeev took part in the combat actions against the federal forces and was involved in the killings of soldiers in Chechnya in the mid-1990s. Alexander Malofeev admitted his guilt and concluded an agreement on cooperation with the investigators. The Court has found him guilty and sentenced him to 24.5 years of imprisonment in a high-security penal colony and fined him 41 million roubles for compensation to family members of the victims. Alexander Malofeev was sentenced to a long term of imprisonment with the view of his non-served sentence for the murders committed during the act of robbery in the Novosibirsk Region. After the verdict had been pronounced, Adam Magomadov, an advocate of Alexander Malofeev, stated that his client was satisfied with the Court's decision and that he would not challenge the verdict with regard to the sentence. Meanwhile, human rights defenders Oleg Orlov and Svetlana Gannushkina have treated the very trial in the case against Alexander Malofeev as controversial. According to Oleg Orlov, there is no evidence of Alexander Malofeev's involvement in the killings of soldiers in the combat actions in Grozny. Svetlana Gannushkina believes that Alexander Malofeev is not forgiven for being a Ukrainian.

In Mineralnye Vody, City Council elects Mayor

Last week, the composition of the council of deputies of the newly created city district of Mineralnye Vody of the Stavropol Territory was determined on the basis of the elections held on September 27. According to the results of the elections, 28 out of 40 parliamentary seats were won by members of the "Edinaya Rossiya" (United Russia) Party; the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) won four seats, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) - four seats; the "Spravedlivaya Rossiya" (Fair Russia) Party - two seats; and two seats went to self-nominees. On October 2, the first meeting of the City Council was held, during which deputies unanimously elected Sergey Pertsev, a member of the "Edinaya Rossiya" Party, the Mayor of Mineralnye Vody. Earlier, he had been the acting head of Mineralnye Vody for more than half a year. Alexander Zubach was elected the Chairman of the local parliament.

Maikop and Nalchik host actions in support of Syrian Circassians

Last week, in Maikop and Nalchik, people held actions demanding from the Russian authorities to pay attention to the problems of Syrian Circassians. The actions began with a solo picket in memory of Judy Maf, an 11-year-old Circassian girl, who lived with her parents in the Adyg village of Marj al-Sultan and who was killed in Syria on September 26. The picket was held by an activist of the NGO "Adyge Khase-Circassian Council" in Maikop on September 27. On September 29, in Maikop, a series of solo pickets in support of Syrian Circassians were continued by Zaurbiy Chundyshko and Ali Bgane, members of the "Adyge Khase-Circassian Council", who also came to the streets with photos of Judy Maf and a poster calling to evacuate Syrian Circassians to Russia. On September 28, the action in memory of 11-year-old Judy Maf was held in Nalchik. The participants of the action, including repatriates from Syria, have claimed that the Russian authorities should pay attention to the problems of Syrian Circassians. According to the organizers of the action, it was attended by 15 persons, who brought flowers and a small sculpture of an angel to the monument "Tree of Life".

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