01 May 2017, 09:00
Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of April 24-30
Syrian militants' claim responsibility for terror act in Saint Petersburg; PACE resolution on human rights violations in Northern Caucasus; explosion of a grenade at a computer club in a Dagestani village; entry into force of life sentence to Valery Permyakov; participation of residents of Southern Russia in the protest action "Nadoel!"; change of chair of the government of the Astrakhan Region, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of April 24-30, 2017, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".
Responsibility for terror act in Saint Petersburg claimed by militant grouping affiliated with "Al-Qaeda"
The grouping "Katiba al-Imam Shamil", affiliated with the terrorist organization "Al-Qaida" banned in Russia by court claimed responsibility for the terror act committed at the metro of Saint Petersburg on April 3, when 16 people, including a suicide bomber, were killed, and 102 others were injured. On April 25, the appropriate information was published on the website of the "SITE Intelligence Group", engaged in monitoring of online activities of radical organizations. The militants have claimed responsibility for the terror act, demanded to withdraw Russian troops from Syria, and threatened with new terror acts, the "SITE Intelligence Group" reports. According to the Moroccan edition "Ani", the grouping "Katiba al-Imam Shamil" was created shortly after the start of the Russian involvement in the Syrian conflict and was named after Shamil Basaev.
PACE claims human rights violations in Northern Caucasus and points to harassment of gays in Chechnya
On April 25, PACE deputies adopted a resolution in which they criticized the human rights situation in Northern Caucasus. The resolution deals with the persecution of human rights defenders, suppression of dissent, intimidation of journalists and violation of women's rights in Chechnya, Dagestan, and Ingushetia. PACE Deputies also insist on carrying out investigations into cases of harassment of members of the LGBT community in Chechnya. In particular, the text of the PACE resolution emphasizes that the authorities of Chechnya "create an atmosphere of fear" among the population. Besides, in the text of their resolution, the PACE deputies appealed to top-ranking officials of the Council of Europe (CE) with a request to conduct a special investigation into cases of harassment, torture, and killings of members of the LGBT community in Chechnya. Meanwhile, the European deputies could not realize the prospects for the Russian side to listen to the appeals of their resolution, since delegates from Russia, who refused to participate in PACE sessions, did not come to the hall.
Child killed as a result of grenade explosion in Dagestani village, other ten people wounded
On April 24, an explosion occurred in a computer club in the Dagestani village of Agvali. At the time of the explosion, pupils of the local school stayed in the computer club. As a result of the explosion, one child was killed, and five other children and five adults were injured. It has been revealed that the grenade was found by a 14-year-old teenager on the outskirts of the village, who brought it then to the computer club. The boy handed the grenade over to his classmate, but he dropped it, and after that an explosion occurred. Out of ten victims, three, including a 10-year-old child, were seriously injured, while the other got light injuries. The criminal case on the fact of the incident is investigated under two Articles of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, including causing death by negligence and illegal trafficking in explosives (Part 1 of Article 109 and Part 1 of Article 222.1, respectively). When commenting on the incident, Ramazan Jafarov, Deputy Prime Minister of Dagestan, pointed out to the fact that at the time when the children were playing with the grenade, several adults were at the same room with them, but they did not attempt to take the dangerous item from the schoolchildren.
Life sentence to Valery Permyakov comes into force
In the criminal case against Russian soldier Valery Permyakov, who killed seven members of the Avetisyan family in Gyumri, advocates of the victim party have failed to obtain a review of the criminal case. The Armenian Court of Appeal has dismissed the complaints filed by successors of the victim party. Thus, the verdict, according to which Valery Permyakov had been sentenced to life imprisonment, entered into legal force. This was reported by the court on April 28.
Cities of Southern Russia support protest action "Nadoel!"
On April 29, a number of Russian cities hosted the action "Nadoel!" (Sick and Tired) organized by the online movement "Open Russia", which units were recognized by the Russian authorities as undesirable organizations two days before the rallies. The initiative was also supported by residents of the south of the country. In particular, Rostov-on-Don, 150 people came to the protest action, including Evgeny Bessonov, a member of the PARNAS and "Yabloko" Parties, a deputy of the legislative assembly for the Rostov Region from the "Communist Party of the Russian Federation" (CPRF). About 50 people gathered for the protest action in Krasnodar. They wrote letters to the Russian President to be delivered to his reception in Moscow. In Astrakhan, seven activists held a rally against the nomination of Vladimir Putin for the next presidential term, and they also expressed their protest in written appeals to the Russian President. The town of Volzhsky and the city of Sochi were also among the cities of Southern Russia, which hosted protest actions.
Astrakhan Region replaces chair of government
On April 25, Alexander Zhilkin, Governor of the Astrakhan Region, dismissed Konstantin Markelov from his post of the Vice Governor and the Chairman of the Regional Government. The reasons for the Konstantin Markelov's dismissal were not made public. On the same day, the Governor appointed Vasily Korniliev, Minister for Construction and Housing and Communal Services, the acting chairman of the government. On the other day, on April 26, deputies of the Astrakhan Regional Duma agreed on the candidacy of MP Rasul Sultanov proposed by Alexander Zhilkin to the post of the Vice Governor. It should be noted that in the report prepared by political consultant Valentin Bianchi and published in February, the name of Alexander Zhilkin himself has been mentioned among those regional leaders who are likely to leave their posts within a year and a half because of the conflicts with top-ranking officials and protests of local residents.