17 July 2017, 09:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of July 10-16

Announcement of verdict in Boris Nemtsov's murder case; outcomes of "Golden Apricot" Film Festival in Yerevan; promise of Russian president's plenipotentiary to intervene in the political conflict in Nogai District of Dagestan, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of July 10-16, 2017, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Court sentences figurants in Nemtsov's murder case

On July 13, the Moscow District Military Court sentenced five defendants, originating from Chechnya and Ingushetia, in the case of the murder of Boris Nemtsov, to prison terms ranging from 11 to 20 years. Zaur Dadaev, who is treated by investigators as the perpetrator of the murder, was sentenced to 20 years in colony, although the public prosecutor asked life imprisonment for Dadaev, and 17-23 years in prison for the remaining defendants. The defence intends to appeal against the verdicts; while Vadim Prokhorov, the victims' advocate, said that "organizers of the crime should be searched for within the retinue of the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov." Kadyrov himself called the verdict "strange" and passed based on dubious evidence.

47 films contended for awards of the "Golden Apricot" Film Festival in Yerevan

The 14th International "Golden Apricot" Film Festival took place in Yerevan. It opened on July 9 with the screening of the film "Khas-Push" (1927) by Amo Beknazaryan, which tells of the terrible poverty, hunger and slavery labour of working people in Persia in late 19th century. Within the framework of four out-of-contest programmes, more than 70 films of Armenian and foreign filmmakers were also screened, including films-laureates of the Cannes, Berlin and Venice Film Festivals.

The festival was closed by screening the documentary by American director Joe Berlinger "Intention to Destroy", dedicated to the Armenian Genocide. On July 15, the laureates were awarded. The Grand Prix went to the film "Sexual Durga" by an Indian director Sanal Kumar Sasidkharan. The "Silver Apricot" was given to the film "Arabia" by the Brazilian filmmakers Afonso Uchoa and Joao Dumans. The Jury's Award went to the film "Western" by the German director Valeski Grisebach.

Presidential envoy's office promise residents of Nogai District, Dagestan, to interfere in political conflict

On July 14, in Pyatigorsk, over 30 elders of the Nogai people came to the building of the Russian presidential envoy to the North-Caucasian Federal District (NCFD), seeking a meeting with Oleg Belaventsev in connection with the political conflict in the Nogai District of Dagestan. In that district, deputies of the local assembly dismissed the acting administration head Baimagomed Yarlykapov. Andrei Shishkin, Deputy Envoy, promised the elders to set up a commission for settling the conflict. On July 11, policemen searched the district administration and confiscated documents, a source said.

On July 11, a video appeared on the Internet, in which a young man in an obscene manner appealed to the head of Dagestan and demanded "to leave the Nogai people in a good way." On the following day, a video was posted on the YouTube, according to which, the authors of the appeal to Abdulatipov were beaten up and forced to apologize to residents of the village of Karagas, Nogai District. Dagestani journalists said that this was done by relatives of the young man, who had offended Abdulatipov, because they got frightened for his fate.

Rostov-on-Don: defrauded housing shareholders go on protest hunger strike

On July 10, in Rostov-on-Don, the deceived housing shareholders of the Housing Cooperative (HC) "Barrikadnaya", who gathered near the unfinished house in First Barrikadnaya Street, announced the start of a hunger strike. They do it in shifts in a tent set up near the unfinished building. The total number of defrauded investors to this HC is estimated at more than 200 persons. The hunger-strikers accuse the authorities of inaction.

It is noteworthy that this is not the only protest hunger strike in the region. On July 4, miners in Gukovo went on a hunger strike, demanding the payment of their salary debts and other due payments. According to the estimates of the initiative group, the miners should receive 374 million roubles more. By July 11, the number of hunger-strikers was 53 people. On July 12, for the first time, they openly demanded resignation of the governor of the Rostov Region.

Abkhazia: tourist killed in attack

On July 11, in Abkhazia, a group of tourists from Moscow was attacked at the seashore. One of the tourists, Andrei Kabanov, received two stab wounds and died. On July 13, the Abkhazian Prosecutor's Office announced the detention of suspects. The Russian Embassy to Abkhazia recommended, in the context of the deterioration of the criminal situation in the republic, that tourists be cautious. The murder of the tourist has affected the tourist industry. People, who had bought trips to Abkhazia, are now refusing to go there, said the director of a travel agency.

Tskhinvali: inmates go on hunger strike demanding better custody conditions

Prisoners of the correctional colony in Tskhinvali have gone on a hunger strike. According to their version, the colony is in fact an indoor prison, although they had been sentenced to custody in a colony-settlement. They demand to increase the territory of the walking area, make windows in cells, allow them two relatives' visits a month, and improve health care and supply of medicines. On July 14, Zalina Lalieva, the Minister of Justice of South Ossetia, visited the colony. She told the prisoners that their custody conditions were "many times better" than those in Russian jails, and promised to solve certain issues. To this, the inmates stated that they would continue their hunger strike until the conditions are improved. As of July 14, the hunger strike continued. The president dismissed the head of the colony; while protesters' relatives reported that colony bosses had imposed on protesters a number of new restrictions.

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