29 August 2016, 09:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of August 22-28

Verdict of guilty pronounced against a Russian soldier for the mass murder in Gyumri; publication of the list of candidates for the positions of the leaders of Karachay-Cherkessia and North Ossetia; failed tractor march of Kuban farmers to Moscow, see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of August 22-28, 2016, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Court sentences Russian soldier to life imprisonment for mass murder in Gyumri

On August 23, in Armenia, the visiting court of first instance of the Shirak Region sentenced to life imprisonment Valery Permyakov, a regular soldier of the 102nd Russian military base, for the murder of seven members of the Avetisyan family in Gyumri. Valery Permyakov was accused of the murder of two or more persons committed with particular cruelty for profit, robbery committed with illegal penetration into a house and use of weapons, and illegal crossing of the state border of Armenia. The defendant pleaded guilty.

Migran Pogosyan, an advocate of the Avetisyan family's successors, has expressed his dissatisfaction with the fact that the court left unanswered some of the important questions. In particular, Russian officials, who knew that Valery Permyakov had no right to bear arms, were not brought to responsibility. The experts have voiced the opinion that the tension in the Armenian community's attitude to Russia may increase if Valery Permyakov is sent to serve his sentences to homeland.

Candidates for positions of leaders of Karachay-Cherkessia and North Ossetia announced

On August 27, Russian President Vladimir Putin approved candidates, and on September 18, the Parliaments of Karachay-Cherkessia and North Ossetia shall select from the lists the new leaders of their republics. The final list for the Karachay-Cherkessian Republic (KChR) includes Rashid Temrezov, acting leader of Karachay-Cherkessia, Ismel Bidjev, the chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Science, Education, Culture, Sports, Youth Affairs and Tourism, and Viktor Borodkin, the deputy chairman of the Committee for national policy, external relations, local self-administration and NCOs. In North Ossetia, the list of candidates includes Vyacheslav Bitarov, acting leader of the republic, Elena Knyazeva, the chair of the North-Ossetian Parliamentary Committee foe Science, Education, Culture and Information Policy, and Gary Kuchiev, the deputy chairman of the Parliament.

Kuban farmers' tractor march to Moscow stopped

During the last week, Kuban farmers tried to go to Moscow to voice their problems there. However, their idea has not been realized. On August 21, in the Cossack village of Kazanskaya of the Krasnodar Territory, about 300 farmers complained about raiders' seizures of land plots with harvest by large agricultural holdings. According to the farmers, the authorities of the Krasnodar Territory have failed to protect the farmers' interests. On the same day, the farmers started a tractor run to Moscow. On August 22, participants of the "tractor march" were blocked by the police in the Rostov Region. After that, they claimed the suspension of their protest action and reported that on August 23, they will send their representatives to Krasnodar to meet Veniamin Kondratiev, Governor of the Krasnodar Territory. However, the farmers then have changed their decision to go to Krasnodar and announced their intention to continue their match to Moscow.

On August 23, the farmers were detained when they gathered at a cafe for talks with representatives of the presidential permanent mission in the Southern Federal District (SFD). The police have explained the detentions by the fact that the protesters have allegedly violated the procedure for organizing demonstrations and failed to get the authorities' sanction for their passage through the Rostov Region. The court arrested three detainees for ten days and fined the others. Later, in Kuban, the court sentenced to a ten-day arrest Alexei Volchenko, the leader of movement "Polite Farmers", one of the initiators of the tractor run. Other 11 farmers were arrested for 5-10 days. Alexei Volchenko has treated the actions of the police of the Krasnodar Territory as abuse of authority.

In Gukovo, miners go on hunger strike with demand to repay wage arrears

On August 22, in Gukovo, a hunger strike was declared by workers of the enterprises of the "Kingcoal" group of companies at different stages of bankruptcy. The protestors demand to repay the multi-million rouble wage arrears. According to the trade union of coal miners, on August 26, more than 100 people took part in the protest action. On August 24, Vasily Golubev, Governor of the Rostov Region, reported that Joint-Stock Company (JSC) "Regional Development Corporation" was ready to allocate 50 million roubles to be paid to the protestors; however, the miners did not agree to the partial repayment of the wage arrears.

According to the regional authorities, the debts to the miners gradually decrease. The lists of the workers to be paid still include 1862 persons, and as of August 23, the amount of 130 million roubles is to be paid to the miners. Meanwhile, the hunger-strikers claimed that the wage arrears in the amount of less than 10 million roubles were paid to the miners not involved in the protest action.

In southern Russia, roofs of hundreds of houses damaged and a person killed as a result of storms

On the weekend, bad weather has caused serious damage to residents of several regions of southern Russia. On August 25, in six villages of the Andropov District of the Stavropol Territory roofs of 28 houses were damaged by hail. On August 26, in Kuban, 100 private houses were damaged in three Cossack villages of the Mostovsky District as a result of heavy rain with hail. In Karachay-Cherkessia, roofs of 140 houses were damaged by hail. On August 27, during a hurricane in Grozny, one person was killed, and another was injured. Wind damaged roofs of nine social facilities and of 122 houses in Grozny and villages in the Nadterechny and Urus-Martan Districts, reports the Chief Department for Chechnya of the Ministry for Emergencies (MfE).

Law enforcers carry out two CTOs in Dagestan and Kabardino-Balkaria

Last week, law enforcers twice introduced the counterterrorist operation (CTO) legal regime in Northern Caucasus. On August 27, the CTO legal regime acted within a part of Nalchik and the surrounding territory of the Chegem District of Kabardino-Balkaria. In the course of a special operation in the village of Nartan, two men were killed. They were identified as Alim Bitokov and Ibragim Gugov. According to law enforcers, Alim Bitokov was the leader of an illegal armed formation (IAF), and both killed men were involved in a series of terror acts. Besides, on August 27, the CTO legal regime was introduced in the Karabudakhkent District of Dagestan. On the outskirts of the village of Ulubi-Aul, law enforcers were involved in a shootout with unidentified people who managed to escape.

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