12 February 2018, 09:00
Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of February 5-11
Detention of the Dagestani Prime Minister and his deputies and formation of a new Cabinet of Ministers in the region; announcement of the date for the early presidential election in Azerbaijan; special operation in Ingushetia, in which two suspected militants were killed, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of February 5-11, 2018, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".
Detention of Dagestani Prime Minister and his deputies and formation of a new Cabinet of Ministers
On February 5, acting Dagestani Prime Minister Abdusamad Gamidov, his deputies Shamil Isaev and Rayudin Yusufov, as well as Shakhabas Shakhov, former Dagestani Minister for Public Education and Sciences, were detained. They are accused of fraud for more than 100 million roubles. The suspects themselves refuse to plead guilty. The investigation into the case was launched 2.5 years ago with officials suspected of machinations with a land plot allocated for a kindergarten. The Investigating Committee of the Russian Federation (ICRF) released a video, showing numerous luxury goods in the houses of the Dagestani officials. According to the ICRF, during a search at the Abdusamad Gamidov's house, a gold pistol was seized.
Alexander Bastrykin, the ICRF's chairman, has made a decision to control the activities of investigators in Dagestan to verify the information about the corruption of the local officials.
Former Dagestani leader Ramazan Abdulatipov has called the detention of the chair of the Dagestani government and his deputies a "campaigning." According to Ramazan Abdulatipov, instead of fighting corruption, the detentions "keep the republic in a nervous strain." Residents of Dagestan treat the personnel cleansing a pre-election manoeuvre of President Vladimir Putin.
On February 5, the government of Dagestan resigned. On February 7, Artyom Zdunov, former Minister of Economy of Tatarstan, was appointed the Prime Minister of Dagestan. He announced a large-scale fight against corruption in the region.
Azerbaijan announces date for early presidential election
On February 5, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev scheduled the presidential election for April 11, without specifying the reason for re-scheduling. The voting was initially scheduled for October 17, 2018. The opposition criticized the decision and explained it by the authorities' desire "to simplify the falsification and prevent the opposition from having enough time to prepare." Experts associate the re-scheduling with the threat of an economic crisis. On February 6, the National Council of Democratic Forces (NCDF) decided to boycott the election, and the movements "Republican Alternative" (ReAl) and "Nida" announced they would not admit the election outcome.
Two suspected militants killed in special operation in Ingushetia
On February 10, a counterterrorist operation (CTO) took place in Ingushetia. As a result, two suspected militants were killed. The militants were cordoned off in the forest near the village of Ali-Yurt in the Nazran District. When offered to surrender, the men opened fire and were killed, the National Antiterrorist Committee (NAC) reports. According to its information, one of the killed suspects was wanted in the case of involvement in combat actions in Syria. Both killed men were natives of Dagestan, suspected of involvement in the "Islamic State" (IS), banned in the Russian Federation.
Court pronounces verdicts in two cases against residents of Northern Caucasus accused of involvement in armed underground
The North-Caucasian District Military Court has pronounced the sentences in the case on a Karachay-Cherkessian unit of the "Islamic State" banned in Russia and in the case on the "Ordjonikidze Jamaat" in Ingushetia. On February 6, nine residents of Ingushetia, accused of aiding and abetting militants, were sentenced to 5-19 years of imprisonment in a penal colony. Their relatives called the verdict "lawlessness." Rights defender Magomed Mutsolgov suggests that the "Ordjonikidze Jamaat" never existed. On February 9, six residents of Karachay-Cherkessia, Dagestan and the Stavropol Territory, accused of involvement in militants' activities, were sentenced to 8.5-17 years of imprisonment. Five out of six convicts were sentenced to more severe punishment than the public prosecutor requested, although their guilt had not been proved, the defence reports.