02 October 2017, 09:00
Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of September 25-October 1
Ramazan Abdulatipov's announcement of his resignation from the position of the Dagestani leader; discovery in Ingushetia of the Doku Umarov's remains; actions held by Adygs from Kabardino-Balkaria and Abkhazia in defence of Ruslan Gvashev on hunger strike; bad weather in Poti, Novorossiysk, and the Kerch Strait crossing, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of September 25-October 1, 2017, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".
Ramazan Abdulatipov announces his resignation as Dagestani leader
On September 27, Dagestani leader Ramazan Abdulatipov announced his decision to resign from the position as the republic's leader. He explained his decision by his elderly age. On September 28, at a session of the Dagestani People's Assembly, Ramazan Abdulatipov notified delegates about his decision, but did not disclose the candidacy of his successor. Journalists associated the Ramazan Abdulatipov's resignation with the election scandals and low rating.
Till present, the website of the Russian President has not yet published any information on the appointment of the acting leader of Dagestan. The region will be led by a person loyal to the Kremlin, and the influence of Ramazan Abdulatipov on the choice of the candidate is minimal. This opinion was voiced by experts interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot". According to their forecasts, the number of candidates includes Sergey Melikov, Shamsutdin Dagirov, Ilyas Umakhanov, Magomedsalam Magomedov, Abdurashid Magomedov, Alexander Khloponin or Roman Bekov. Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin can appoint an unexpected person. The Kremlin is dosing its decisions on the replacement of governors and has not yet decided on the successor to Ramazan Abdulatipov, editors-in-chief of the Dagestani media assume. They believe the Kremlin's pause is of benefit for Ramazan Abdulatipov, who for his own purposes disclosed the information about his resignation ahead of time.
Doku Umarov's remains found in Ingushetia
On September 25, sources from the law enforcement agencies reported the discovery in Ingushetia of the remains belonging to Doku Umarov, the leader of the terrorist organization "Imarat Kavkaz" banned in Russia. The burial place was shown by a man detained for involvement in hostilities on the side of militants in Syria, reported a source from the Investigating Committee for the Russian Federation (ICRF). On September 27, the FSB officially confirmed the discovery of the Doku Umarov's remains. On the same day, a source familiar with the results of the forensic examination of the remains found in Ingushetia reported that Doku Umarov died of poisoning with a highly toxic substance. The found remains were sent to Moscow for forensic medical examination.
In Kabardino-Balkaria and Abkhazia, Adygs hold actions in defence of Ruslan Gvashev on hunger strike
Starting from September 11, Ruslan Gvashev, the 67-year-old former head of the Council of Elders for Circassian Shapsugs, holds indefinite hunger strike in protest against the decision of the Sochi court to fine him for praying at the Tulip Tree on the Adyg Memorial Day. The court found him guilty of organizing an unsanctioned action. On October 5, the Krasnodar Regional Court is to consider an appeal filed by Ruslan Gvashev. On September 29, the hunger-striker's condition deteriorated sharply. He is unable to talk, but refuses to get injections, reports the activist's wife. On October 1, the woman reported that Ruslan Gvashev could no longer move independently. On September 26, the Elders of Baksan released a video message in which they called on to protect the rights of the Black Sea Shapsugs and stated that the prosecution of Ruslan Gvashev for a prayer at the Tulip Tree was a discrimination against the minority. On September 27, about 300 participants of the rally in Sukhumi appealed to the Presidents of Russia and Abkhazia with a request to save the Ruslan Gvashev's life and to grant the Black Sea Adygs-Shapsugs the right to hold memorial prayers at the Tulip Tree without any obstacles.
Bad weather affects people living in Poti and Novorossiysk and tourists crossing Kerch Strait
Last week, two regions in the Caucasus fell into the power of bad weather. On September 27, several streets in the centre of the Georgian city of Poti were flooded after a heavy rain, and traffic of vehicles and pedestrians was impeded. As a result of the heavy rain in Poti, several houses were flooded. On the other day, the Mayoralty reported that the consequences of the heavy rain in the city streets had been eliminated. On September 28, a gusty wind in Novorossiysk resulted in the fall of trees and destruction of buildings. School administrations recommended that children should not go to classes. Resident of the city complained that fallen trees damaged their cars.
The Kerch Strait crossing was closed for several days because of the storm. The ferry connection between the Krasnodar Territory and Crimea was suspended in the evening on September 25, and it was not restored until the evening on September 29. In the "Crimea" and "Caucasus" ports, several thousand cars were accumulated in a line for the ferry crossing. On the Crimean side of the ferry, passengers were provided with food and accommodated for a night, while tourists at the "Caucasus" port complained about the lack of conditions for comfortable waiting.